From John Adams, Minna
The Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Alhaji Abdullahi Bawa Wuse, has condemned the stance of the National Assembly on the National Minimum Wage, citing the plan to amend the Constitution to remove salaries from the Exclusive List.
The Speaker stated this in Minna on Wednesday when members of the organised labour, including the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the state protested at the Assembly complex in Minna, the state capital.
According to him, “It is wrong for the National Assembly and in legislative practice to introduce bills without the input of those the bill is meant to serve.
‘As a lawyer I know that before you amend the Constitution all the 36 states Houses of Assembly should endorse the proposal,’ Wuse declared but expressed happiness that ‘the bill is in its second reading, let’s see what the public hearing will look like.’
The Speaker commended the protesters for the peaceful way they have conducted themselves, adding that ‘the House is behind labour in this matter.’
The state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Yakubu Garba, in an address, described the plan to remove the Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List and put it in the Concurrent List as a ‘malicious plot to enslave the teaming workforce in our country by some enemies of Nigeria one of whom is Honourable Garba Datti Mohammed of Sabon ngari Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.’
Garba said the plan if allowed to stay ‘at this period of our national life is tantamount to a declaration of war against the working class of Nigeria by the political class.’
The labour leader declared that ‘a national strike shall be the last resort in the event that the ongoing national protest and rally fails to yield the desired results.’
Some of the industrial unions affiliated to the NLC among them JUSUN, PASAN also seized the opportunity to call for financial autonomy for both the lagislature and Judiciary arms of government.
No fewer than 200 workers drawn from all the NLC affiliate unions took part in the protest which saw the blocking of the main entrance to the House of Assembly complex.
The protesters after marched peacefully through the major street of Minna to the Labour House located on IBB way.