Minimum Wage: Leaders Provoking Crisis In Nigeria Over Treatment Of Poor Masses –Father Mbaka

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With the national minimum wage negotiations at an impasse, the Nigerian Government has offered N62,000, while Organised Labour has reduced its demand to N250,000.

Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka, the Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu Catholic Chaplaincy, has strongly criticised the allowances given to lawmakers while many Nigerians suffer hardship.

With the national minimum wage negotiations at an impasse, the Nigerian Government has offered N62,000, while Organised Labour has reduced its demand to N250,000.

Mbaka urged the government to exercise caution to avoid a crisis, suggesting that the proposed N62,000 minimum wage should apply equally to senators, governors, and House of Representatives members. He expressed dismay at the lavish allowances given to lawmakers, including sitting allowances, wardrobe allowances, newspaper allowances, and suffering allowances, which he described as inexplicable.

Mbaka appealed to the government to handle the situation carefully, warning that if mishandled, it could have unintended consequences.

“If we decide to give labour N60,000 or N62,000, why not generalise it to the House of Assembly members, senatorial members, House of Representative members, and governors?” the cleric said.

“All of them are civil servants, are they not?”

Mbaka lamented that governors and lawmakers are amassing billions of naira as “sitting allowance, wardrobe allowance, newspaper allowance, and suffering allowance”.

He also lamented the rising inflation rate in the country and its impact on the common man.

“The people that should have such allowances are those suffering in the village. How much are our teachers, nurses, and doctors being paid?” he asked. “The teachers who are grooming our children for us, how much are they being paid? Our nurses and doctors, how much are they being paid? Let us be realistic. Our civil servants that wake up from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, they wake up early and come back late, how much are they being paid? And look at the level of inflation in the country.”

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“All of us should know we are not sincere. So I am pleading with the government that a stitch in time can save nine. It is a matter of handling the bull by the horns,” he said.

“What is actually happening is the inhumanity of man to man, let us tell the truth. God is not happy with what is happening to the poor masses of Nigeria and the leaders are provoking crisis that they may not be able to carry when the thing comes.”

It was reported on Friday that the tripartite committee set up by President Bola Tinubu’s government had agreed that the new National Minimum Wage should be pegged at N62,000.

The committee which comprises stakeholders from the Nigerian government, state governments and the private sector made the recommendation after their meeting on Friday night.

Media learned that the committee had submitted its recommendation to the President for his review and possible approval.

However, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress rejected the new recommendation and insisted on N250,000.

Meanwhile, the 36 state governors of the federation had earlier said having a minimum wage of N60,000 or above was too high and not sustainable.

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