Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria, MMWG has said that moving the National Minimum Wage from Exclusive List to Concurrent List, would pauperise civil servants, aggravate their hardship and increase poverty across the country.
This is even as it called on all members of the National Assembly and States House of Assemblies in the country to reject “the ill-motivated bill of retrogression” currently before the federal legislature.
MMWG, in a statement issued yesterday by its National Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi and made available to our correspondent, therefore thrown its weight behind the organised labour against such “a retrogressive step.”
The group particularly cautioned some politicians against what it described as their “selfish and materialistic tendencies which is making them to treat public servants as slaves in the Nigerian society.”
“The trajectory of salary payment in public service in Nigeria is well-known. Before 1974, various states in the country were paying different salaries to their workers as well as local government workers.
“But with the Udoji Salary Review Commission Report of 1974 received and accepted by the then military government under General Yakubu Gowon, a Unified Salary Structure was approved for the whole Federation.
“It then became a law that the federal, state and local government workers in Nigeria should be paid according to the new Unified Salary Structure adopted,” Abdullahi stated.
The national coordinator further informed that it was the Constitution Drafting Committee under General Murtala Muhammad that put the minimum wage under the Exclusive List “so that public service workers could come-off oppressive system and join the global trend.”
MMWG therefore wondered how the nation that “abandoned retrogressive salary system of payment in 1974 return back to it nearly 50 years after”, warning that such would be against International Labour Organisation, ILO Convention of 1928 of which Nigeria was a party to.
The group noted that the inability of some states to pay the approved national minimum wage of N30, 000 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari stems from their governors’ lack of concern for the state workers.
It also condemned the statement credited to the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi who is also the chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF that the “Federal Government cannot force National Minimum Wage on them”, describing it as “highly provocative and ridiculous after two years of approval.”
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC on behalf of Nigerian workers last week, took to streets all over the country to protest against a privately sponsored bill by a member of the National Assembly that the issue of Minimum Wage should be moved from Exclusive List to Concurrent List.
If the National Assembly pass the bill and signed into law by the executive, state governments would jettison the National Minimum Wage and negotiate with their workers on what they have ability to pay instead of adopting the federal salary scale.
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