The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, on Wednesday, condemned the Federal government over the delay in negotiating the minimum wage for Nigerian workers.
The group who stated this in a communique issued at the end of its monthly meeting in Akure, Ondo state capital, urged the National Minimum wage Committee not to negotiate for state and local government workers, saying the negotiation should be strictly restricted to federal workers.
Reading the group’s communique, the Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, stressed the need for the Federal government to only negotiate for the Federal workers and let the state and local government negotiate for their workers.
Odumakin said “the plan by Federal government has to negotiate a minimum wage for Nigerian workers whose take home pay has become inconsequential, in the face of inflation and economic hardship is a welcome development.
“It is right that the Federal government has put up a Committee to negotiate a minimum wage for the workers but we see a problem here, this whole of unitary stance that we are maintaining by putting wages in the exclusive lists.
“But the Federal government should negotiate for its own workers and let the state and the local government do same with their own workers, until this is done some states will underpaid their workers.
He recalled that “in the first republic, the western region was paying higher minimum wage than the Federal government, it is not only the Federal government that can protect the interest of workers, let every tier of government negotiate their wages with their workers in the true spirit of federalism.
He said the Federal government can negotiate for its workers in order not create another problem saying “it will create another problem as the Federal government will negotiate for the Federal workers as well as state and Local government workers whereas it is different tiers that will pay their wages, there will be different problems”
The group also called on the Federal government to attend to the demands of university workers across the country to save the education sector from total collapse.
The group said in the communique “Federal government has been unfair to our universities, we have been treated our universities like they are not places of learning, and we believe that the demands of workers should be attended to and give them what they are asking for and grant them what is due to them.
“The larger percentage of our budget should be given to education, as recommended UNESCO that 26 percent should be earmarked to education in this budget but here, we are doing 6 or 7 percent, so we are not there yet ,we must do that.”
Afenifere group also condemned the dehumanizing of Nigerian citizens in Libya and described the development as disturbing and condemned the Federal government attitude to the inhuman act.
The communique read: “the meeting was disturbed by the horrific graphics and humiliating report of Nigerians in Libya being treated less than human being and been subjected and treated as s3x slaves and our citizens having their dignity been forcefully removed.
“We are disturbed that there have not been sufficient response from the Federal Government ,on the humiliation of our citizens abroad, the way it should have been done.
“This is not acceptable while we call on the Federal government to step up and behave in a more responsive manner to the plight of our citizen abroad and explore all the diplomatic channels to protect their dignity.
“We must say that the reason why our people are being subjected to this dehumanization abroad is because there is no home for them at home and our people are now running helter skelter dying in the desert and in the sea in thousands because they are desperate to get out of here at all cost thinking that anywhere is better than Nigeria.
The group frowned over a report ranking the country as one of the poor place to live saying this is responsible for the exodus of Nigerians from the country.
” We must say that it becomes worrisome with the level of hardship in this country that few days ago the global poverty club released a report that by February 2018, Nigeria is going to become the global headquarters of extreme poverty in the world.
” That the country will harbor the most poorest of the poor, we will overtake India, what are we doing about this, we must say there is no way Nigeria can provide opportunities at home, create an enabling environment where they can be fulfilled except we have a paradigm shift from the present unitary structure that is anti development into a productive model that is based on federalism.” the group said.