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11 Years Of Unbroken Civil Rule: Gains, Pains, Expectations

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Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (right) conferring with Mrs Helen David Mark, wife of the Senate President at the opening ceremony of the first Commonwealth of Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Conference of West African Sub-region held in the Rivers State House of Assembly complex, Port Harcourt.

Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (right) conferring with Mrs Helen David Mark, wife of the Senate President at the opening ceremony of the first Commonwealth of Women Parliamentarians (CWP) Conference of West African Sub-region held in the Rivers State House of Assembly complex, Port Harcourt.

Nigeria has had a long, tortuous and chequered history of experimentation with democracy, but never quite have it right.

On May 29, 1999, Nigeria transited from military autocracy and absolutism to democracy. Before then, the country had been under firm military rule for all but twelve years since independence in 1960.

Essentially, the militarisation of the Nigeria society and the supplanting of constitutional provisions by decrees of the successive ruling military juntas engendered a culture of lawlessness and fundamental abuses of the citizenry rights.

Nigerians were denied their basic political rights of voting for their preferred leaders under military rule. The economic and social rights of the people were seriously trampled upon by successive military rule through gross mismanagement and looting of state resources without any element of accountability.

However, the military regime of General Abubakar Abdusalami ushered democracy in Nigeria in 1999.

The administration of General Abubakar Abdusalami in preparation for committed and sincere handing over of power established the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct elections for local government councils, state legislatures and governors, the National Assembly and President.

INEC successfully held these elections on December 5, 1998, January 9, 1999, February 20, and February 27, 1999 respectively.

These elections were indications of the military sincerity of handing over power to democratically elected leaders and return to civil rule.

Nevertheless, for the local government councils election, a total of nine parties were granted provisional registration with three fulfilling the requirements to contest the subsequent elections.

These parties were the Peoples Democratic Party the All Peoples Party (APP) and the predominantly South West Alliance for Democracy (AD). General Olusegun Obasanjo became the Presidential candidate of the PDP and Chief Olu Falae became the joint candidate of APP/AD Alliance.

The PDP candidate Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was subsequently elected and sworn in on May 29, 1999 thus changing the traditional October 1st handing over date in Nigeria.

The departing military authority under the Provisional Ruling Council promulgated a new constitution based largely on the suspended 1979 constitution before the May 29, 1999 inauguration of the new civilian rule.

But the new President took over a country that faced many problems, such as, economic stagnation, collapsed infrastructure, deterioration of most of its democratic institutions and institutionalised corruption coupled with culture of impunity and executive reckless.

Therefore, pertinent questions begging for answer are what have been the gains, losses, hopes and expectations of Nigerians and the international community over these past eleven years of unbroken civil rule in Nigeria?

According to retired Major Ollorowi Ollorowi, Director General of Nigeria Industrial Security Institute, one of the gains of this civil rule was the prompt retirement of political soldiers from the Armed Forces by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Major Ollorowi Ollorowi added that he commended the President for such bold move and step taken then “I personally commended General Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President for his bold and courageous step to retire hundreds of military officers who held political positions”.

He further stressed that this move and initiative strengthened Nigeria’s democracy and civil rule in 1999.

Also supporting the fact that Nigeria has gained much under civil rule from 1999 till date, Barrister Naazigha-Lee State chairman, Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) Rivers State emphasised that “the coming of democratic governance in 1999 actually restored the confidence of Nigerians in participatory democratic governance”,

He stressed that the initial decisions of the government of President Obasanjo to establish the Justice Oputa panel to investigate human rights violations, rescinded a number of questionable licences and contracts of the previous military regimes, and moved to recover millions of dollars in funds secreted in overseas accounts were undertaken to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the civilian rule and promote image of the country in the international community.

It is not gainsaying that the eleven years of unbroken democracy has safeguarded and sustained the consolidation of human rights in Nigeria.

According to the State Chairman, CDHR, Nigeria was at a crossroad with a greater challenge of how to guarantee justice, human dignity and civil liberties before the advent of democratic governance in 1999.

He stated that Nigeria returned to the community of nations with elected government, ensured significant progress to be made in the area of freedom and liberties.

According to Dr. Ishmael Guarama, senior lecturer, Faculty of Humanities, University of Port Harcourt, the eleven years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria has made it possible for a more open society in which people no longer live in fear of the arbitrariness and intimidation.

The senior lecturer stressed that Nigeria remain committed to the idea of one corporate identity despite contending proposals for a new paradigm of governance and relationship between the federating tiers of government.

Dr. Ishmael further added that Nigerians have seen a marked improvement in human rights and democratic practice during this unbroken civil rule. “Today the Nigeria press enjoys greater freedom than under previous military rule.

As part of the gains of democracy during this period the usual conflicts between the Executive and legislative arms of government over major appropriation allocation and other proposed legislations have tended to strengthen Nigeria’s demo

mocracy.

A noticeable gain has been that of growing visibility of state governors and the inherent friction between the Federal Government and the various state Governments over resource allocation and excess crude account funds, all meant for healthy democratic country.

Also, one of the gains of the civil rule from 1999 has been the introduction of GSM communication by the Obasanjo’s administration. Prior to that  period, few Nigerians have access to cellular phones but today, millions of Nigerians have afforded GSM handsets to ease communication. Today, the telecommunication sector is been dominated by MTN, GLO, Zain, and Etisalat, making NITEL a moribund parastatal. 

However with the advent of democracy in 1999 Nigeria has recorded some major losses in the areas of lives and properties through communal crises, and religious mayhem.

In November 1999, the Nigerian Army destroyed the town of Odi Bayelsa State and killed scores of civilians in retaliation for the murder of 12 policemen by a local gang.

In the North West State of Kaduna in February 2000, over 1.000 people died in rioting over the introduction of criminal Sharia law in the State.

In Jos, the flash point of inter-religious rioting, hundred had been killed and thousands displaced in communal violence.

In 2002 in Zaki Biam, Benue State thousands were killed and properties worth millions of naira destroyed by rampaging soldiers over soldiers killed by the local gangsters.

One of the critical concern to Nigerians has been billions of naira lost through corruption. Yet no end in sight to such unwanted state plunder of resources.

However, government’s response to nip this trend of communal violence in the bud was the setting up of the National Security Commission to address this issue of re-curring communal violence.

Hopes And Expectations

Nigeria has successfully transited from one civilian government to another. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo successfully served his eight years period of two terms and successfully handed over to the late President Musa Yar’Adua on May 29, 2007.

The late President introduced his Seven Point Agenda as a conceptualised developmental programme for Nigerians. The Seven Point Agenda include Power, Electoral Reforms, Agriculture, Niger Delta, Health Sector Reform, Employment and Education.

According to a political economist and retired Permanent Secretary, Chief Obo-Ngofa, the power and energy crisis in Nigeria needs to be addressed squarely and urgently to arrest the imminent collapse of the economy.

According to him, the energy crisis remains a national embarrassment to the Nigerian Government. He appealed to the President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to seriously tackle the Power crisis to improve the comatose industrial sector.

The Niger Delta crisis actually affected foreign investment arising from the agitations for a meaningful development in the region. Luckily enough, the late President Musa Yar’Adua as part of his Seven-Point Agenda of addressing the sorry state of infrastructure and economic empowerment of the people of the region, granted Amnesty to the men who took to the creeks to drive home the pitiable situation of the underdevelopment in the region.

On the issue of Electoral Reforms, the Government had set up the Justice Muhammed Uwais Committee on the Electoral Reforms. The committee has since submitted its report to government waiting full implementation for credible elections in 2011.

However, it is the hope and expectation of Nigerians that President Goodluck Jonathan will implement the recommendations of the Justice Uwais report through the appointment of unbias National Chairman for the INEC with significant re-organisation of the Electoral body for credible and acceptable elections in 2011 and beyond.

However, a major monster that has eaten deep into the body fabrics of Nigeria’s society is the high level of state institutionalised corruption.

Despite the establishment of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to checkmate corruption and other related economic crimes, corruption has remained  the bane of Nigeria’s development.

According to Barrister Jas Awanen government needs to strengthen the anti corruption agencies like the ICPC and EFCC to function properly with less relative supervision.

Currently, Nigeria has over 53 political parties, an indication that Democracy in Nigeria is in progress and Nigerians are happy with participatory democracy that allow them to freely chose and elect their leaders.

However, according to Mr. Godknows Asoka, a public affairs analyst, the coming of civil rule in Nigeria from 1999 has strengthened the institution of the Judiciary, adding that under Military rule, our judiciary was very docile but now very proactive to right the wrong of injustice.

He emphasised that civil rule has created democratic consciousness in Nigerians and brought governance closer to the grassroots.

There appears to be a consensus opinion on the return to civil rule that democracy remains the best form of Government in any society.

A foremost member of the House of Representatives and chairman, Committee on Legislature Complaince, Hon. Daemi Kunaiyi-Akpanah believes that the nation has fared well although not without pains and sacrifices.

He told The Tide in his office in Abuja that the learning process began eleven years ago, although the nation had not reached the destination point. “Well I think democracy is working in Nigeria and there is progress. I don’t believe it’s the destination (yet for Nigeria): It is an ongoing journey.”

Mr. Kunaiyi-Akpanah contended that “the only thing that makes our democratic government  work is the prevalence of the rule of law and freedom of speech and religion.

The Coordinator of Egbeda Progressive Forum, Endurance Akpeli Esq, who spake with The Weekend Tide, in Port Harcourt, Thursday hailed the charisma of President Jonathan’s administration and urged him to continue his good work.

Mr. Akpelu enjoined all to support Jonathan’s administration and noted that it was divinely inspired.

He asserted that the incumbent president had done a lot to justify his election in 2011 and described Jonathan as the David of our time.

The coordinator remarked that the president came into power through a divine arrangement and warned that nobody should alter the arrangement.

Also speaking, Mr John Worah, an officer with the Nigeria police, said there was remarkable improvement in the provision of democratic dividends. He remarked that as a Niger Delta man, Jonathan had maintained stable oil price since he assumed office.

He said the fuel scarcity that marked previous administrations in the country had gone with those past administrations.

The police officer noted that the issue of where Jonathan came from should not be primary focus of Nigerians and noted that what should concern the people now was what he had to offer.

“From all indications, I am convinced that Jonathan will be bringing a lot of reforms to the nation,” he said.

We should encourage Jonathan to vie for the presidency because we believe in what he is doing and will continue to support him to deliver the dividends of democracy. Good leaders are hard to find, when we see them, we must appreciate them,” he pointed out.

Another person, who spoke with our correspondent, Mr. Andy Ihuenyi said that Jonathan should vie for the presidency in 2011 given the level of achievements he had so far recorded.

“President Goodluck Jonathan is a symbol of goodluck. We cannot afford to shun goodluck. His assumption of office is noteworthy. It is by an act of God,” he pointed out.

Mr. Ihuenyi, who is an environmentalist, said “the election of Goodluck Jonathan would pacify the neglected people of the Niger Delta. But first and foremost his track record has shown that he has all it takes to pilot the affairs of this nation.”

He regretted that the zoning system was the machination of the enemies of the Nigerian nation.

He, however, stated only those who were qualified and experienced should be entrusted with leadership, so that they would remain accountable to the people.

 

Philip-Wuwu Okparaji, Chidi Enyie, Justus Awaji,

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Rivers People Celebrate Wike On Birthday

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As Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike marks his birthday today, both Rivers indigenes and people resident in the State have expressed myriad of opinions in celebrating the special day with the Governor.
There is no doubt that, so far, the greatest encomiums showered on the Governor have derived from his obsessive knack for massive infrastructural development across the state.
What baffles many observers is that the execution of such projects comes with the speed of a sprinter, regardless of the season. Their commissioning is always a marathon performed by notable politicians from across party lines. And, above all, these projects have proved to be of top-class quality.
In fact, it was during the commissioning of one of such people-oriented edifices that Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, of a rival political party and an unlikely source for such tangible praise, gave him the most fitting appellation of ‘Mr. Projects’.
Obviously borrowing from this, one of our respondents, Mr. Edward Amatigha, said “Governor Wike is a good man. Look at the three flyovers he is constructing at a go; whereas his counterparts elsewhere are busy emptying their state treasuries into their personal bank accounts. The man is Mr. Projects, no doubt.
“As for his birthday on Friday, I join other well-meaning Rivers men and Nigerians in wishing him a happy celebration and God’s continued guidance”.
Amatigha, a bank clerk, wished the same level of infrastructural transformation could be achieved in his native Bayelsa State.
Chikwendu Nwokorogwu, a civil servant in Port Harcourt, sees Governor Wike as a blessing to the people of Rivers State and one of the best governors the state has had since its creation.
Nwokorogwu was particularly grateful to the Governor for his contributions to the health sector. She called on all Rivers people to celebrate their son who has done them well in all aspects of governance.
A trader, Mrs Ifeoma Chukwuemeka, referred to the Governor as a man of “timber and caliber”; a man of good taste and immense strength. She praised Wike for ensuring that traders enjoyed comfort while doing their business by building ultra-modern markets for them.
The food vendor wished him well on his new age while urging him to maintain his service delivery stance with the Rivers electorate as more goodies were being expected from the government.
Also speaking, Gabriel Ejiofor noted that “Governor Wike, beyond all reasonable doubt, is doing well, but I just pray that he becomes friendlier with the youths, because we have a lot to explore in our own state. God bless Wike! God bless Muhammadu Buhari! And God bless Nigeria!”
Muhammad Kadiri, who is of the Muslim community in Rivers State could not express his excitement and gratitude enough to Governor Wike. He saw the governor as a man of the people whose peaceful mien is very palpable across the state.
Kadiri said that Muslims in the state, who are mostly non-indigenes, still partake of the governor’s generosity, even as non- Rivers people. According to him, they can access the health and educational facilities in the state and also do business without any fear of intimidation or molestation; all because the governor is very accommodating.
Mallam Muhammad appreciated Allah for Governor Wike’s life and wished him well on the occasion of his birthday today.
On his part, a motorist, Anthony Chibor, paid special tribute to Governor Wike for inaugurating the task force on illegal parks and street trading in Port Harcourt. According to him, there is better traffic flow and an improved ease of doing business in the city.
He wished the Governor many years of success and advised him to remain focused while avoiding any temptation to be distracted by unnecessary political rantings and hate speeches from enemies of the state.
Also responding, Miss Goodness Idong, a student of Captain Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Port Harcourt, opined that it is actually a double celebration for the state’s chief excutive as his birthday anniversary falls in the same month as Jesus Christ’s.
She assured that the governor’s vision and support towards improving the standard of education in the state would not be in vain as it will surely serve to produce students who would become very sound future leaders.
Another trader, Mr. Cletus Nwankwo, said that Wike’s good legacy at ensuring a better Rivers State is unrivaled. He described the state’s helmsman as the “Governor of all governors”, saying that his birthday would bring him good fortunes as the Heavens would surely shower him with multiple blessings.
For Elder John Chimezie, it was a very simple and apparently honest confession: “I like the governor’s work. The truth is that I have never seen a governor like him. I wish him goodluck, long life, prosperity and a graceful birthday”.
A civil servant who craved to be known simply as Mrs. D said she was always proud of Governor Wike’s accomplishments as a politician.
“Politicians hardly keep their election promises. But in Governor Wike, Rivers people and, indeed, Nigerians have found a politician whose word has always been his bond; a man who has consistently matched words with prompt action. In fact, an Ekwueme (talk-and-do) governor,” she eulogized.

 

By: Ibelema Jumbo, Ngozi Dennar, Chioma Peters & Odinakachi Oko

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Strategise For Governorship, Wike Charges Ethnic Nationalities

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Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has called on ethnic nationalities seeking for the Governorship of the State to liaise with others, rather than take actions that will engender disunity in the state.
He urged the Kalabari Ethnic Nationality and their leaders to be strategic in their quest for Governorship, saying that the resort to needless propaganda will not work in their favour.
Speaking during a solidarity visit on Wednesday by the leaders and people of Kalabari Ethnic Nationality at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike charged them to “have a strategy to get the Governorship Position. Quietly sit down with other ethnic nationalities and work towards the seat.
“The Governorship seat cannot be gotten through the radio. It cannot be gotten through falsehood. There must be a strategy in place. Nobody gives you the Governorship Seat as a gift”, he said.
Noting that if the Governorship seat is gotten as a gift, the people will not appreciate it, the Governor said the Governorship position in Rivers State is difficult to access because Abuja and other key leaders are interested in planting people.
“Abuja is interested; other states are also interested in who becomes the Rivers State Governor. They want to plant a Governor of Rivers State. God will not allow it”, he said.
Governor Wike used the occasion to reiterate that no single ethnic nationality in Rivers State can make a Governor, noting that it takes the cooperation of all ethnic nationalities for a Governor to emerge.
The Governor warned ethnic nationalities against allowing criminals to act as their spokesmen, saying that when criminals assume the position of spokespersons, they only generate crises and threaten violence.
Commenting on Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25, Governor Wike said that the owners of Belema Oil embarked on deliberate falsehood to mislead Kalabari people on the role played by the Rivers State Government to resolve the impasse.
He said that the Chairman of Belema Oil met him and said that the Federal Government has agreed to extend the operating license of OML 25 to him, and that after the license was awarded to Shell, he urged Shell and the host communities to resolve their differences.
Governor Wike urged the Chairman of Belema Oil to work for his people instead of generating tension, saying that the State Government displayed good faith when it handed him Certificate of Occupancy for 15 hectares of land earlier revoked by the immediate past APC Administration in the State.
He urged Belema Oil to use her resources to develop riverine communities where they operate, instead of investing billions of naira in the north.
On OML 11, Governor Wike said the Rivers State Government is working for the interest of Rivers people, saying that the aim is to ensure that the host communities are joint owners of the oil facility.
Governor Wike said contrary to the negative falsehood by some politicians, his administration has executed key projects in Kalabari land, spreading across the three Local Government Areas of Kalabari Ethnic Nationality.
In the same vein, the Governor announced that his administration will commence the first phase of the Trans-Kalabari Road, and also promised the release of financial support for the families of those killed by the Nigerian Army during the Presidential election in Abonnema.
Earlier in an address, the Chairman of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba commended the Rivers State Governor for his commitment to state-wide development.
While noting that Rivers people rewarded Governor Wike with a second term because of his outstanding performance during his first term, Alabraba said the visit of the Kalabari leaders was to uphold the Governor’s doggedness towards the good of the State.
“We are here to celebrate your gallantry to uphold the common good of Rivers State. Nobody would have been able to stand the way you did, during the elections”, he said.
He urged the Governor to compensate those negatively affected by the military invasion of Abonnema during the Presidential election.
Chief Alabraba said the performance of Governor Wike led to several awards with the climax last Saturday when the Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality honoured him as the “Dike Oha Ikwerre”.
He commended the Governor for working for the peace of Kalabari Ethnic Nationality through his intervention during the crisis of OML 25 and the conflict between Eroton and host communities.
Also speaking, Bishop Ombo Isokariari said Kalabari people voted Governor Wike enmasse because of his commitment to good governance and projects delivery.
He lauded Governor Wike for standing with the Kalabari Ethnic Nationality at all times.
On his part, the Amayanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Bob-Manuel, recalled the visit of Governor Wike to Abonnema a day after the military invaded the area during the Presidential Election, saying that the people appreciate the governor for his show of love and concern.
Speaking further, Governor Wike used the opportunity to call on Kalabari Leaders to prevail on the Amanyanabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus J.T. Princewill, not to allow himself to be used by external forces to create disunity in the State.
The Governor expressed regret that the Amanyanabo of Kalabari deliberately allowed the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, to use him to promote divisiveness.
He said: “I want to publicly lay a complain on the action of Amanyanabo of Kalabari. The next time it happens, I will act as a Governor.
“The Amanyanabo of Abonnema didn’t do it; he called me on phone when the Governor of Bayelsa, Dickson tried to create problems in Rivers State.”
Governor Wike said the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor visited the state, without getting in touch with the relevant authorities, under the guise of coming to see Ijaw people.
“He said he was coming to see Ijaw people in Rivers State and he would be hosted by the Amanyanabo of Kalabari and Amanyanabo of Abonnema.
“The Amayanabo of Abonnema called me and said how can that be? The Rivers State Governor did not call me. The Amanyanabo of Kalabari did not call me. What he did was to roll out drums to receive the Bayelsa State Governor “, Governor Wike said.
The Rivers State Governor informed the Kalabari Delegation, that should the Amanyanabo of Kalabari take such illegal action in future, he will face sanctions.
“That day I would have removed him, but I held myself. What they would do is to go to Radio and abuse me. But I am used to insults. I am trying to complain to you people.
“You can see how people are trying to divide a State. A fellow Governor would come from somewhere to create Division.”
He said the outgoing Bayelsa State Governor professes love for Ijaw people in Rivers State, but is busy working to take the State’s oil resources in Soku and Kula.
“Already, we have gone back to Court in relation to Soku oil wells. This is the man who is claiming Kula oil wells and Soku.
“I have gone back to court and we will reclaim the Soku Oil Wells for Rivers State. This is the same man you claim loves you and you roll out drums against Protocol”, he said.
He reiterated that the Amanyanabo of Kalabari will face sanctions if he continues acts of Division.
“If any of such things happen again, I will take the necessary action. I will not listen to any further excuse. That is why I am saying this publicly. Tell him to respect constituted authority.
“It is not good for anyone to come and divide Rivers State, because the state is one. It is unfortunate what my colleague did. I handed him over to God and prayed for God to do his will”, he said.
The Governor commended the peace initiative of the Amanyanabo of Abonnema and urged other Traditional Rulers to emulate him.
He said: “I thank the Amanyanabo of Abonnema for his peace initiative. I urge other Traditional Rulers to emulate him. Work towards peace amongst your people. You cannot live where there is no peace.
“It is impossible to have governance without peace. So you need peace in your domain.”
The Governor, on behalf of the State Government, also offered to bury the late
prominent Kalabari son and philanthropist, High Chief O.B. Lulu Briggs, whose burial has been prolonged for close to a year over family feud.
Stating that the Rivers State Government is interested in according the late Philanthropist the respect he deserves, the Governor said, “I even told them (family) to let the Rivers State Government be responsible for the burial.
“Let the State Government take the corpse. Government will hold the corpse and give him a befitting burial. All I want is peace.
“How can a prominent son of Kalabari Land stay in the mortuary for one year and we are all here. Nobody can speak the truth.
Governor Wike called on the Kalabari leaders to set aside their differences and intervene to ensure that Chief O. B. Lulu Briggs is buried.
“They have divided themselves. You collect money here, you collect money there and you cannot speak the truth.
“I have intervened more than three to four times. Having meetings, but was disappointed by the wife. I have to say clearly to all of you. I have never received insult like that in my life”, he said.
He stated that he told Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs and the widow of the late philanthropist to allow the love they have for Chief O.B Lulu Briggs influence them into allowing him to be buried, and they can continue the struggle for his property.
Governor Wike appealed to the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disrael Bob-Manuel, and other leaders of the area to directly intervene to resolve the matter.

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Minimum Wage: NLC Gives Govs Dec 31 Deadline

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it cannot guarantee industrial peace and harmony, if state governors refuse to conclude negotiations and payment of the National Minimum Wage by December 31.
In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting with state council chairmen on the implementation of the National Minimum Wage, the union said there were currently three implementation categories in which all states fell into.
The communiqué was jointly signed by the NLC President Dr Ayuba Wabba; NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja; and Abdulrafiu Adeniji, National Chairperson, Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (Trade Union Side).
The communiqué noted that Kaduna, Kebbi, Lagos and Adamawa have commenced the implementation and payment of the new minimum wage, while Jigawa had concluded negotiations but yet to make its first payment to workers.
Meanwhile, President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, yesterday called on state governors to respect the law regarding implementation of the new minimum wage of N30,000.
Wabba spoke in Abuja at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on the implementation of the minimum wage at the state level.
Present at the meeting were the NLC chairmen at the state councils across Nigeria, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who was represented by a top official at the ministry, Franca Adigwe.
Wabba said the meeting was called to review situations in each state and take a decision towards ensuring implementation by all state governors. According to him, since the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), signed the New Minimum Wage Act to law, every state governor was bound to respect the new wage structure and negotiate with labour to decide what the consequential increase would be.
Wabba said the NLC was aware that some states had held negotiations while some had not begun talking with labour representatives in their states.
He said, “You are all aware that the process has been completed at the national level, including the issues of consequential adjustment and what is remaining is for the states and local governments to implement it.
“We have called a meeting of all the state council chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress as well as the Joint Public Service Negotiating Council and also the heads of service of selected states of the federation. So it’s actually a social dialogue process to take stock of where we are in every state and we will also be able to take some decisions so that the implementation can be done seamlessly because we don’t want any worker to be left behind.
“All of us are aware that from the day the President signed the minimum wage Act into law, it became enforceable. There is no excuse for any state to say that they are not going to respect a law that is actually based on the constitution.
“The national minimum wage is actually a constitutional issue; so clearly, it is about respecting our laws and also respecting international convention and procedures.”

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