Following the directive of the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC on Sunday September 30th to all workers nationwide to go back to work thereby putting an end to the strike action which the union had started on Thursday September 27th, a group called SERAP has come out to provide President Buhari with a solution to solve the minimum wage issue.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to raise the tough decisions on stolen funds to fund the new minimum wage proposed by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
SERAP said that the minimum wage of N18,000 for Nigerian workers stands in sharp contrast with the outrageous salaries and allowances of high-ranking public officials . Timothy Adewale, who is the deputy director of SERAP, begged President Buhari to provide bold leadership to improve conditions for the working poor and ordinary Nigerians.
Timothy Adewale, the deputy director of SERAP, said this in a statement he released on Sunday, September 30, in Lagos, The statement went thus, “The minimum wage of N18, 000 for Nigerian workers stands in sharp contrast with outrageous and sometimes illegal salaries and allowances of high-ranking public officials who continue to enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity. Vulnerable Nigerian workers are left in a precarious situation, unable to ensure a decent standard of living for themselves and their families, with access to water, health, and education seriously undermined.”
Adewale also urged President Buhari to provide bold leadership to improve conditions for the ‘working poor’ and ordinary Nigerians by openly supporting a reasonable salary to enable them to live a decent life. The organization said the federal government could make this a reality by intensifying efforts to recover assets and other illegal wealth which was stolen by public officials and institutions since the return of democracy in 1999.
He said: “The government can begin to take tangible steps like proposing legislation to cut security votes of around N241 billion yearly. The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) should take legal action to seek refund of N13.5 million monthly ‘running cost’ for each senator and N10 million for each member of the House of Representatives.
“The RMAFC has already declared the allowances illegal and contrary to the law on salaries and allowances of public office holders, namely ‘Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendments) Act, 2008.”
The organization also urged President Buhari to stop former governors from receiving double pay and life pensions as serving senators and ministers. SERAP said the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice should seek refund of over N40 billion public funds received by ex-governors now serving in appointive or elective positions, leveraging the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).
SERAP urged the government to swiftly end the strike by reaching an agreement with organised labour and push for the harmonisation of the proposed minimum wage across the states of the federation.
In relation to this message, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its other affiliate organisations on Sunday, September 30, announced they have decided to call of their warning strike that had partially grounded economic activities in the country.
The president of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, made the announcement, according to Channels Television. Wabba reportedly said the strike is being called off as a result of the firm assurance of the federal government to reconvene the tripartite committee on the new minimum wage.