By Laleye Dipo
The Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Alhaji Abdullahi Bawa Wuse, has observed that the National Assembly has taken a wrong step in its plan to amend the Constitution especially as it affects the national minimum wage.
Wuse made the observation in Minna on Wednesday when members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the state carried out a protest to the assembly complex in Minna, the state capital.
“It is wrong for the National Assembly and in legislative practice to introduce bills without the input of those the bill is meant to serve.
“As a lawyer, I know that before you amend the Constitution, all the 36 states Houses of Assembly should endorse the proposal,” Wuse stated, but expressed happiness that “the bill is in its second reading, let’s see what the public hearing will look like”.
The speaker however emphatically told the protesters that: “The house is behind labour in this matter” before praising the workers for the peaceful conduct of the protest .
The state Chairman of the NLC, Yakubu Garba, in an address, described the plan to remove the minimum wage from the Exclusive legislative list and put it in the Concurrent list as a malicious plot to enslave the “teeming workforce in our country by some enemies of Nigeria one of whom is Hon. Garba Datti Mohammed of Sabon ngari Federal Constituency of Kaduna State”.
Garba said the plan if allowed to stay “at this period of our national life is tantamount to a declaration of war against the working class of Nigeria by the political class”.
The labour leader said: “A national strike shall be the last resort in the event that the ongoing national protest and rally fails to yield the desired results.”
Some of the industrial unions affiliated to the NLC — JUSUN, PASAN — also seized the opportunity to call for financial autonomy for both the legislative and judicial arms of government.
No fewer than 200 workers drawn from all the NLC affiliate unions took part in the protest which saw the blocking of the main entrance to the House of Assembly complex.