James Sowole in Akure
The Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political Group, Afenifere, wednesday said it was wrong for federal government to negotiate uniform minimum wages for workers in the three tiers of government.
Afenifere lamented that the practice came to be because the wage issues was put in the Exclusive List of the constitution.
The position of the Yoruba socio-political group was one of the highlights of the communique issues at the end of the meeting of the group held in the Ijapo, Akure residence of its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti.
In the communique read by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere said it was right for government to set up a committee to negotiate a minimum wage for workers because their take home had become inconsequential in the face of inflation and economic hardship
However, Afenifere said there would be problems in the process because of the unitary stance that the country is maintaining on issues of wages.
“Putting wages in the exclusive list that only the federal government can negotiate on it will create its own problems because 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. We are saying that in order to avoid this, 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 underpay their own workers. In fact in the First Republic, the then 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,” Afenifere stated.
The group expressed concern about what it described as dehumanising condemning the treatment of Nigerians as less than human being.
“Also, we are disturbed that there has 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 citizens 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 dehumanisation 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 Mediterranean Sea in thousands because they are desperate to get out of here at all cost thinking that anywhere is better than Nigeria,” Afenifere said.