From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
In compliance with the directive from the president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, organised labour in Kogi State Wednesday staged a rally demanding that the National Assembly stop immediately a bill proposing to remove the National Minimum Wage law from the Exclusive List to the Concurrent List.
A member of the House of Representatives from Kaduna State had sponsored the bill which has passed through second reading, causing organised labour to direct all state chapters to stage protests.
The workers, who came out in their hundreds as early as 7:00 am on Wednesday, marched to the state House of Assembly bearing various placards in their hands, which read: “Minimum wage must remain in exclusive list; “‘Nigerian workers refuse to take slavish wages”; “Removal of minimum wage in exclusive list, a declaration of war”; “National Assembly should not dare us”; “No to selfish politicians”, among other messages.
Addressing the workers, the state NLC chairman, Onuh Edoka, flanked by his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Ranti Ojo, said the National Assembly should not dare the workers by passing an anti-worker bill, saying the said bill is against International Labour Organisation Convention Sec 26 of 1981.
The labour leader, who berated the political class for what he called their selfishness, expressed worry that after the National Minimum Wage has been passed into law, some state governors using the lawmakers went through the back door to circumvent it.
While appealing to the National Assembly to put a stop to the bill, he said failure to do that will result in mass protests which will ground economic and political activities in the country.
In the letter presented to the state Assembly, he urged the state government to immediately reopen discussion in the implementation of the Minimum Wage in the state, saying that the state government has been using all manners of tactics to dodge it.
The labour leader, who specifically lambasted the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folasade Arike, who is the chairman of the implementation committee, said she has been hiding under COVID-19 to frustrate the workers.
Edoka gave an ultimatum of 12 days to the state government to comply or face the workers’ wrath.
Receiving the letter from the labour leaders on behalf of the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, the House Clerk, Mr Anoka Ibrahim, promised to deliver their petition to the appropriate quarters.