Minimum wage: Ajumbe bombs NLC, Governor’s Forum

..Says states cannot pay N57,000

From Everest Ezihe, Owerri

Against the background, of many Nigerians critically condemning the tripartite negotiating committee of the Federal Government for whole heartedly accepting the recent recommendation of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum for the payment of 57,000 Naira as minimum wage, Prof. Vitalis Orikaeze Ajumbe, has thrown a spanner on the wheel of most Nigerians expectation by saying that, the amount is grossly unrealistic and most State Governors cannot afford to pay it, moreso that the forum were under duress to accept the “bogus” amount.

Ajumbe who is Imo State born reverred social crusader and politician having been the State Chairman of All Nigerian People’s Party, ANPP for 8 years, Chairman Imo State Broadcasting Corporation, (IBC), Chairman, Imo State Board of Internally Generated Revenue and Pension, (BIGRP), Chairman Imo State Pension Rectification Committee, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Tourism and Public Utilities, Chairman 2024 Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education, Owerri Land Recovery Committee and a member of the Presidential Think Tank Group under President Muhammadu Buhari among other positions threw these bomb shells in his paradise on earth splendid residential home in Owerri on Monday while interacting with news men on state of the nation.

According to him “the N 57,000 minimum wage proposed by the Nigeria Governor’s Forum is unrealistic. I think they gave the approval under duress,, the present N30,000 minimum wage, how many states in the Federation are paying it ? The payment is not visible nor possible, where will they get the money to pay the N57,000. It will definitely pitch the state governments against the civil servants. It will generate a lots of problems in the States.

“How do you expect states like Yobe, Kebbi, Zamfara, and even Imo to pay the N57,000minimum wage.
Definitely, it will generate conflicts between the civil servants and their host governors.
It will also led to reduction in workforce. Many civil and public servants may be forced into early retirement. It will definitely generate hyper inflation because prizes of goods will be increased and landlords may equally increase their rents.

” I foresee a situation were many people may be forced to relocate into rural areas, because they cannot afford to pay for the services in the town. Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC asking for above N100,00 is totally unfair to Nigeria as a nation, nobody can pay that.

” It will definitely lead to hyper inflation, as ordinary people like Keke drivers cannot afford to buy a cup of garri. Even the Journalists will be worst hit as many of them depends on Public Relations from their news sources. The labour leaders that are asking for over N100,000, are they paying their drivers and domestic staffs well enough ?

“I want the Labour leaders to come out boldly and tell Nigerians they are paying their drivers and domestic staffs upto N57,000 per month. Certainly, when you say minimum wage every body starting from the Federal Government to the State Government to public and private sectors must abide by the law.

“The implication is that even the gateman of the NLC President will earn the minimum wage. The minimum wage should not be for only the state and Federal Government. The private sectors and multinational organizations will embark on massive retrenchment of workers so as to meet up profitability.

“Thus, most small and medium scale companies will turn into family businesses because they cannot afford to pay. Many financial houses like banks, insurance and stock brokers may resort to contract and casualty employments.

Honestly, if this minimum wage issue is not critically handled, the economy of the nation will nose dive into comatose.
What was the position of NLC when members of the national Assemblies were given SUV bullet proof cars valued over N100, 000,000 each. That was an opportunity for Labour to protest over financial misappropriation and misplaced priority, but they kept quiet.

“When the former Minister of Humanitarian Services was accused of whooping financial misappropriation, what did NLC do. When NNPC was accused of financial recklessness and gross embezzlement, did NLC say anything Emphatically, No ! It’s a pity that Labour Union in Nigeria is only interested in selfish agenda instead of agenda beneficiary to Nigerians.

“Labour should have been on the vanguard of fighting for corruption and corrupt leaders, instead they compromised and kept quiet. They are only interested in receiving bogus salaries, they are not interested in the national after effects of their unjust and hasty decisions.
For instance Dangote as a private company have functional refineries, what’s NLC position on Nigerian moribund, dilapidated and non functional NNPC refineries. These are the crux of the matters, as NLC zips up.

“These are places more money should have been generated for the benefits of Nigerian populace but labour kept quite. NLC is no fair to Nigerians. This nation cannot grow through constant strikes and protests.
“They should look at the President and tell him point blank that his so so and so policy or policies are detrimental to Nigerians.

“They should see themselves as the conscience of the nation. They should not be partisan in pursuing the people’s interest, because there are so many Nigerians who are not civil nor public servants but should be protected by Labour.

“That’s the way it should be. Look at the Abuja-Calabar costal road that was outrageously awarded, without due processes, what was the position of NLC if not Siddon dey look. The truth is that Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC has been part and parcel of the nation’s problems, they are not advising the leaders well.

“You can see the way labour union fights the government in South Africa, their actions and inactions always brought positive changes in the overall interest of the masses. You hardly hear South African Labour Union talking about workers salaries, to them it’s non issue.

“While our labour union here will connive with those in power to mess up the nation’s common wealth. They are only interested in talking about salaries, as if that’s good enough. Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC is doing nothing for Nigerians. They’re simply selfish”he pointed out.

Ajumbe pleaded with Nigerians to have patience and trust with Tinubu’s administration saying that nothing good comes easy, even as he recalled that during the Nigerian/Biafran civil war that Igbos suffered so much including economic blockages, but today, the ethnic group has advanced more than any other ethnic nationality in Nigeria apart from Lagos and Abuja capital metropolis.

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