Abuja – The Staff Union, Federal Ministry of Finance, on Monday staged peaceful protest at the ministry due to non-payment of allowances amounting to N1.2 billion.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protesters blocked the entrances of the headquarters of the ministry preventing vehicles and other visitors from gaining access to the premise.
Attempt to speak to union leaders by NAN was rebuffed as the protesters claimed that their placards “speaks for them”.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards alleged non-payment of overtime allowances, training and other welfare packages.
The Director of Information in the ministry, Salisu Dambatta, however said the ministry would not pay the allowance being demanded because it was illegal.
“They are not making allegations that their salaries are being delayed, they are not complaining about salaries, rather, they are asking for special over time, which they claimed they were receiving in the last 10 years.
“They are given this lump sum by the previous administrations each year. However, this special over time is unknown to the service and it does not exist in reality.
“It was a privilege extended to them when the economy was buoyant. The last time they were paid was in 2014 and President Goodluck Jonathan wrote to inform them they will no longer receive such allowance,” he said.
Dambatta said a copy of the instruction to stop payment of the allowance by the former president was showed to them, adding that the ministry would not reintroduce the allowance since it was not captured in its budgetary allocation for this year.
On welfare package, Dambatta said the ministry had provided its workers with a clinic and free drugs as well as buses to take staff to and from their homes.
NAN reports that this is the second time in two weeks that protesters had grounded activities at the ministry. (NAN)