The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has accused nine governors of backing ongoing attempts to remove the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list.
Though not specifically listing the governors allegedly involved in the current scheming, available records with the congress leadership indicate that nine states have refused to implement the N30,000 minimum wage payment almost two years after President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Act in 2019.
The affected states include, Abia; Benue; Cross River; Kogi; and Kwara.
Others are: Nasarawa; Plateau; Taraba; and Zamfara.
Describing the nine state governments as “anti-workers,” the NLC accused them of manipulation and conniving against the interests of Nigerian workers.
President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said it was regrettable that a few governors have refused to honour the agreed N30,000 minimum wage as negotiated in an open process in which they were fully represented.
Wabba spoke at the Unity Fountain in Abuja while addressing workers during the nationwide protests against moves by the House of Representatives to remove the powers to negotiate minimum wage from the Federal Government.
He said, “We are then taken aback by a few governors’ action. Let me mention that the governors are nine, because some of them gave us this information. They are only nine out of the 36 that are anti-workers.”
The Lower Legislative Chamber had two weeks ago debated a bill seeking to excise the powers to negotiate wage matters from the exclusive to concurrent legislative list, citing state governments inability to pay the N30,000 minimum wage as reason behind the move.
The bill, sponsored Mohammed Datti-Babawo, representing Sabongari Federal Constituency of Kaduna State, has passed through second reading in the House.
The NLC President urged the lawmaker to immediately withdraw the bill in the overall interest of Nigerian workers.
According to him, anything to the contrary would be a betrayal of trust by the governors, because, “When the N30,000 minimum wage was fixed it was negotiated. Six governors represented the interests of the geo-political zones. We had MAN, SMSE, CCI, NECA, also on the table.
“Our demand was N66,000, looking at the economic challenge and how the purchasing powers of Nigerian workers have dwindled but through the process of dialogue and negotiations, including the ability to pay, on the negotiation table we were reasonable and everybody agreed on N30, 000.
“That is how the report was submitted to Mr President, a bill went to the National Assembly, there was a public hearing and it was promulgated.
“We are told and nobody has contradicted this fact, that they (lawmakers) collect N13million per month. How can he (Muhammad) in his right senses say that the current minimum wage of N30,000 is too much for Nigerian workers? Can we say shame to him?”
All state capitals across the country were expected to host protests simultaneously by workers under the umbrella of NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) against the planned removal of minimum wage from the Exclusive Legislative List.
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Insecurity Hasn’t Hindered Projects’ Execution In Rivers, Wike Affirms
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of 16.2-kilometre long Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor noted that while other states of the country were still struggling with issues of insecurity, Rivers State was witnessing harvest of development projects with the non-stop inauguration and flag-off ceremonies to their amazement.
“Don’t fight anybody that God has blessed. Don’t fight the state that God has blessed. People are talking about insecurity. We are talking about commissioning and flagging-off of projects. Is it easy? If it is easy, let them try it.”
Wike asserted that it is only states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like Rivers that has created a peaceful climate for the citizens while the government delivers democratic dividends.
“Those who say they don’t like what PDP is doing, they have no choice but to like it. You can see what the party (PDP) is doing. We are flagging-off and commissioning projects. Whether they like it or not, we are in charge.”
The governor said it is obvious that Rivers State is no longer on the same level with states that cannot provide dividend of democracy to their people.
Wike said the performance of his administration has restored confidence in Rivers people and they can walk with their heads raised high.
“Rivers people, are you not proud of your state? If you’re a Rivers man, anywhere you go, raise your shoulder high and say that you’re a Rivers man and woman. “They (other parties) can only jealous us, but they cannot do anything. We are of different class. We are not on the same level with them.”
Speaking further, Wike commended the member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. KelechiNwogufor his loyalty to PDP.
He also extolled him for his commitment to the welfare of Omuma people and being a trusted ally to him.
At the behest of Nwogu, Wike promised Omuma people that his administration would reconstruct the Umuakali-Eberi Road in appreciation of their support to the PDP.
Inaugurating the project, former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted how Wike has redefined governance and broken the jinx of non-performance associated with second tenure governors.
According to him, the approach to development that the governor has adopted stands him out as a much sought-after leader who should be consulted in solving critical national issues related to governance.
“With my experience in elective politics, second terms of most governors are dull; some governors will just go to sleep because they don’t have anything to offer. But you are still commissioning projects, as if you’re not even going to leave.
“Your developmental approach, your developmental plans, and formula should make you an international consultant to the failing government. Because, quite frankly, the magic, I mean, nobody knows except you. You do it with ease, you do it with happiness.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, EllokaTasie-Amadi said the Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi link road in Omuma Local Government Area was another genuine efforts of the Wike administration to ease the transportation difficulties experienced by rural dwellers in the Omuma.
“Many of these rural projects go unsung probably because the residents are not social media savvy, as in the case of Omuma, who are predominantly farmers, or probably because SM activities are not a part of their past times as it is with city dwellers.
“It may shock you to know that for every kilometre of road we have built in the city we have built 12kms or more in the rural areas. This is a conservative estimate I would like you to ponder upon when you get home.”
He further stated, “This project is a 16.2km long, 10.3m wide road project which has 4.3km of drains. The roads are marked and have a total of 27 road signs to aid driving and enhance public safety.”
Wike Flags Off Abonnema/ Obonoma Sandfilling Project, Today
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, said that, “the project will sandfill 42 hectares of land that will help expand Abonnema and Obonoma Towns.
“It is in fulfilment of the promise made by Governor Nyesom Wike during the commissioning of the Abonnema Ring Road”.
The statement further added that, “The rich culture and tradition of the Kalabaris will be fully on display at the event.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event”, it stressed.
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