Pass new minimum wage act in 48 hours as you did for National Anthem – Falana tells National Assembly

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana has urged the National Assembly to hurriedly pass an enactment to set a new minimum wage that will resonate with current economic realities in the country as they did for the national anthem a few days ago.

Falana, in a statement made available to SaharaReporters on Monday morning, argued that the National Minimum Wage Act 2019 has expired and there is a need for the government at all levels to review and pass a new law to that effect.

The organised labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress had vowed to commence an indefinite strike today (Monday).

Falana wrote: “Pursuant to the National Minimum Wage Act 2019, the national minimum wage was fixed at N30,000. By virtue of section 3(4) of the Act 2019 the national minimum wage expires after five years, and it shall be reviewed in line with the provisions of this Act.

“Since the commencement date of the Act was the 18th day of April 2019, the national minimum wage of N30,000 has since expired. Hence, the Minister of State, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Honourable Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, announced during the last May Day rally in Abuja that the new national minimum wage would take effect on May 1, 2024.

“Following the removal of fuel subsidy last year, the Federal Government had announced an additional N35,000 wage award (wage subsidy) for six months, starting from 1 September 2023. During the 6-month period, the total monthly wage payable to a worker was N65,000. In the same vein, the various state governments awarded various sums as wage subsidy to their workers. Both Lagos and Edo State Governments have since announced a minimum wage of N70,000.

“Curiously, the Federal Government turned round to offer a minimum wage of N48,000. Hence, the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress have embarked on an indefinite strike due to the failure of the Federal Government and other employers of employment to pay a realistic new minimum wage to Nigerian workers.

“However, it has been reported that the leaders of the National Assembly have intervened in the planned strike.

“The National Assembly should, therefore, pass speedily a new National Minimum Wage Act like the new National Anthem Act that was enacted within 48 hours, last week.”

SaharaReporters had reported that the organised labour said it would go ahead with its plan to commence an indefinite strike (today) Monday despite last-minute moves by the National Assembly leadership to avert the industrial action.

The representatives of organised labour on Sunday said they lacked the power to call off the strike, adding that there was no going on the industrial action on Monday.