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Minimum Wage Agreement Can Be Reached In A Month If Government Is Serious About Negotiation, Says Ndubuaku

Nigerians’ hopes are being dashed, we should not create a situation of a violent revolution in this country, says Ndubuaku.

A Member of the  Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) team on the National Minimum Wage Committee, Professor Theophilus Ndubuaku, has said he is certain that the Labour Unions and the Federal Government can reach an agreement on the new minimum wage in a month is the government is serious about the negotiations.

Ndubuaku, who appeared in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Thursday, said this while discussing the upcoming negotiations between the Labour Unions and the government for the minimum wage, as Labour gave the Federal Government a deadline of May 31st to reach an agreement for a new minimum wage.

He said, “Coming to the issue of whether we’ll meet the deadline, I think if the government is serious about this negotiation, there’s no reason why we cannot conclude within the next one month, I’m very certain about that. But if they now fix a meeting once in a week, if they’re serious, we can hold meetings everyday and resolve the issues within one month. Everything depends on how serious the government is.

However, he referred to the agreement that was reached in October, saying that the government had been nonchalant on their end, saying, “Then, on the issue of the agreement we had in October, everybody can see that there is some element of unseriousness or nonchalance on the side of government. And I think it’s important that all of us, all well meaning Nigerians, we shouldn’t just bury our heads in the sand, things are going wrong. People are hungry, people are dying. As a matter of fact, it affects everybody.

“Things are going out of hand, topsy turvy, and then people are dying. Even in my sector, we’re losing researchers in their forties, in their fifties dying of hypertension and all that. I think I’m even going to suggest that people should really speak out. We should even have the National Orientation Agency coming out now to tell Nigerians how they can survive this very very difficult situation.”

Ndubuaku then urged President Tinubu to not create a situation where there will be a revolt by the people due to the harsh economic climes.

He said, “Everybody believes that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is an experienced politician, and when we started hearing Renewed Hope Agenda, we felt that there was hope, that Nigerians had hope, but now the hope is being dashed. We should not create a situation where there is a violent revolution in this country. If you are saying somebody should be hopeful, you have to have some form of provision- a roadmap for that person to say, okay, we’re expecting this.

Look, we have a food insecurity problem in this country now, and nobody is telling us how we’re going to solve it, and there are many crops in this country that take just three-four months before you harvest. We have many of them, most of our staples. The government is not doing anything, instead, what we’re hearing is that they’re going to spend N18 trillion on coastal highway.

“I mean, people are dying of hunger and you have resources- natural resources, land, water resources and all that, and instead of carrying out a program that will ensure that there will be food in the next four months, you can ask people to plant maize massively, sorghum, potato, rice, beans, soya beans, these are crops that don’t take more than four months before they mature. Any intensive program of agriculture, once you now put it in place, people will have hope and say okay, in the next four months, we’re not going to die of hunger.”

Ndubuaku then addressed Vice President Shettima’s mention of a disagreement, saying that negotiations have not yet begun for any disagreements to occur.

“He said there has been disagreements, I don’t understand- maybe disagreements on their own side because sometime last week or so, we heard they were calling a meeting to decide on what the government was going to present, but we have sent our own submission. So, if there is a disagreement- it is when you start talking.

“We have sent in our demand, and we have not gotten any response from them, we have not sat down to negotiate that N615,000. So, that disagreement, I’m not saying he’s lying, maybe disagreement could be in any other form, maybe disagreements among themselves or between themselves and the governors or whatever,” he said.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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