Buhari, 36 governors sued for not paying N30, 000 new minimum wage

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A group under the aegis of Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, on Thursday, sued President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of labour and productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, as well as governors of Nigeria’s 36 state governors to court for the delay in the implementation of the proposed N30, 000 new minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

The organization, in the suit it filed before the National Industrial Court in Abuja, equally cited as the attorney general of federation and minister of justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), and the national assembly as defendants in the case.

Other Defendants in the suit marked NICN/ABJ/286/18, are the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress  (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC)

The group aside seeking a court order to compel the federal government and all the 36 governors to pay the new minimum wage also applied for an order to restrain the organised labour from going ahead with its planned strike action from November 6.

Basically, the plaintiff, prayed the court to determine: “Whether in view of the economic realities, hardship and pauperized squalor living condition of Nigerian masses, the payment of the paltry sum of eighteen thousand naira (N18,000.00) monthly national minimum wage to the lowest category of workers In Nigeria is adequate to take care of an average worker and his family; and whether eighteen thousand naira (N18,000.00) monthly national minimum wage is reasonably justifiable in a democracy society, if juxtapose with huge, excessive, outrageous and disproportionate salaries, emoluments, allowances, impress and arrears paid to the political office holders, and Heads of Governments Agencies and Parastatals.

“Whether the refusal, neglect, insensitivity and unyielding attitude of the federal government of Nigeria and the governments of the and 36 States of the Federation, to the plight and welfare of Nigerian workers, and failure to reach accord with the organized Labour on the payment of thirty thousand (N30,000.000) new minimum wage for the lowest paid worker in Nigeria, agreed by the tripartite committee on the payment of the new minimum wage is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.

“Whether the Federal Republic of Nigeria can afford a total and indefinite industrial action that will cripple the entire socio-economic activities at this critical period of democratic transition and preparation for the 2019 General Election, with one thousand estimated pre-election cases pending in various Court in Nigeria.

“Whether in view of the combined reading of sections 33, 39,40, 45 (1) (a) and (b) right to freedom of association and expression and the right to form and belong to a trade unions/ professional association, for the protection of the interest of the members of the union in relation to labour matters, trade dispute, employment, trade unions, industrial relations, trade dispute, and issues concerning national minimum wage and payment of salaries, allowances and wages is absolute and can be restricted in the overriding National interest.”

Upon determination of the questions, the plaintiff prays the court to declare that: “The paltry sum of eighteen thousand naira (N18,000.00) monthly national minimum wage to the lowest category of workers In Nigeria is INADEQUATE to take care of an average worker and his family and that the eighteen thousand naira (N18,000.00) monthly national minimum wage is grossly inadequate, if juxtapose with huge, excessive, outrageous and disproportionate salaries, emoluments, allowances, impress and arrears paid to the political office holders, and heads of governments agencies and parastatals.

“The refusal, neglect, insensitivity and unyielding attitude of the federal government of Nigeria and the governments of the and 36 States of the Federation, to the plight and welfare of Nigerian workers, and failure to reach accord with the organized labour on the payment of thirty thousand (N30,000.000) new minimum wage for the lowest paid worker in Nigeria, agreed by the Tripartite-committee on the payment of the new minimum wage is unjust, inhumane, wicked, callous, fiendish and breach of the social contract theory.

“The Federal Republic of Nigeria cannot afford another TOTAL AND INDEFINITE INDUSTRIAL ACTION that will cripple the entire socio-economic activities of the Nation, at this critical period of democratic transition and preparation for the 2019 General Election, with one thousand estimated pre-election cases pending in various courts in Nigeria.

“In view of the combined reading of sections 33, 39,40, 45 (1) (a) and (b) read alongside the entire provisions of the Trade Dispute Act, right to freedom of association and expression and the right to form and belong to a trade unions/ professional association, for the protection of the interest of the members of the union in relation to labour matters, Trade Dispute, employment, trade unions, industrial relations, and issues concerning national minimum wage and payment of salaries, allowances and wages is not absolute and can be restricted in the overriding National interest.

“An order of the court compelling and mandating federal government of Nigeria and the governments of the and 36 states of the federation, to immediately commence the process of implementing the payment of thirty thousand (N30,000.000) new minimum wage for the lowest paid workers in Nigeria as agreed by the Tripartite-committee, including mandating the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the attorney general of the federation to immediately draft and transmit N30,000.000 Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to the national assembly.

It also sought “an order of the court compelling and mandating Federal Government of Nigeria and the Governments of the and 36 States of the Federation, to immediately commence the process of implementing the payment of thirty thousand (N30,000.000) new minimum wage for the lowest paid workers in Nigeria as agreed by the Tripartite-committee, including proposing amendment to RMAFC Act, and all extant laws, and regulations on the appropriate remuneration to political office holders, to immediately reduce by 50 percent, the unnecessary high cost of governance, outrageous and unaccountable security votes, needless number of motor convoys, high number of redundant and useless political appointees, unnecessary travel expenses/allowances, senseless religious patronage and sponsorship to pilgrimages, excessive and inflated contract awards, outrageous salaries, arrears, allowances of all elected and appointed political office holders In Nigeria.

“An order restraining the NLC, TUC, and ULC or any other labour union howsoever called, from embarking to on November 6th 2018 proposed indefinite strike action which will cripple socio-economic activities of Nigerian, at this critical period of democratic transition, with several pre-election matters pending in various high courts across Nigeria; and to continue to engage, negotiate, and dialogue with the federal and state governments, and the organized private sector on the best possible ways and modalities to implement the agreed N30,000.00 (third thousand naira) minimum wage for the lowest paid Nigerian workers.”

With Vanguard report

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