Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has reiterated his support for Nigerian workers’ demand for an upward review of the monthly national minimum wage.
Ekweremadu stated this in his goodwill message on the occasion of the 2018 edition of International Workers’ Day, issued by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu.
He said, “I salute the Nigerian workers for their immense sacrifice, labour, resilience and patriotism, which have kept Nigeria going. They have also not relented even in the face of untold challenges and hardship.
“However, we must take the necessary steps to lighten their burdens, especially in the face of excruciating economic realities and in line with the anti-corruption crusade.
“It is becoming more difficult for workers to survive on N18,000 minimum wage. It is absolutely less than a living wage. The take-home pay has left most workers stranded on the road, as it is becoming very difficult for an average worker to take care of essential needs, especially in the absence of basic amenities.
“Therefore, I support workers’ demand for a new minimum wage and the ongoing negotiations initiated by government to that effect. Even if the workers cannot have exactly the N66,500 new monthly National Minimum Wage, which they currently demand, they should have at least N50,000 as the new monthly minimum wage.”
Deputy Senate President also stated that it would be difficult to wage a successful war against graft in the absence of a reasonable wage for the workers.
“A new, reasonable and realistic minimum wage is central to the war against corruption because we cannot in good conscience expect that the citizens will wholeheartedly fight corruption on an empty stomach.
“That is why the basic responsibility of any government is the welfare and security of the citizens and their property so that they are not tempted to resort to self-help. The Nigerian workers deserve a better deal”, Ekweremadu added.