[The Injustice Blog] The Nigerian Senate and its “Bag of Shame”

In his characteristical manner, he was pictured kneeling down wearing a black suit with two hands raised up and his mouth wide open, he was not praying in a church neither was he begging his constituents for votes. This time around, he was begging his colleagues in the Nigerian Senate to intervene in the unabated crisis of non-payment of salaries to workers in his home state of Kogi.

The man in the picture above was Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi west senatorial district in the National Assembly, who caused a stir in the red chamber on Wednesday, October 25, 2017, while making an appeal for the Senate’s intervention in the non-payment of salaries in his home state.

Saying “Today, in my state we live in perilous times and vicissitude. The social media and newspapers have been awash few days with unfortunate incident of a civil servant who committed suicide upon receiving information that his wife gave birth to triplets.

“He is (was) being owed 11 months’ salary. Another civil servant was seen crying because he could not provide N3000 for drugs and the child died.

 “Their salaries must be paid; pensioners must be paid. How many more people will commit suicide before Yahaya Bello pays salaries? We don’t want to see more deaths in Kogi state.”

Despite his appeal for intervention, the Senate couldn’t make a positive decision of the issue, rather, they ended trivialising the issue as they’ve always done to important National issues. What Dino told the press after the sitting was left to be imagined as he reeled out names of his fellow senators that have decided to donate bags of rice to Kogi workers all totalling 1,300 bags of rice.

Let’s get this right and straight. Kogi workers are in a dire situation that is existing in other states which deserves serious intervention, not a kid glove approach of donating rice. Rice to how many workers? In a state with more than 10,000 workers, how many families will one thousand, three hundred bags of rice feed?

If the Nigerian Senate was to be at par with its colleagues in other parts of the world, by now they would have intervened by summoning the Minister of Finance and the Kogi state commissioner of finance to give a detailed account on the utilisation of the billions that have accrued to the state in form of bailout and Paris refund.

Why are workers being owed for eleven to twenty-three months? As President Buhari rightly asked, how are they sleeping when workers are being owed? The Senate should be at the forefront of meeting these Governors to ask questions on why their citizens are not being paid.

In a rather funny twist, the Senate took its shamelessness to another level that will take a lot of mileage for others to reach by descending so low to donate 1,300 bags of rice to Kogi workers.

Even if donating rice is what is left as the solution, is 1,300 bags what they can donate to citizens out of their alleged N29 million monthly salary?  Shame!

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