The Nigeria Labour Congress, Anambra State chapter, on Tuesday described as laughable the fact that the country’s minimum wage could no longer buy a bag of rice.
The Chairman of the congress in the state, Mr. Jerry Nnubia, stated this during a rally in solidarity with Nasarawa State, workers who were allegedly killed and injured by the police while protesting against wage cut by the state government on July 29.
Nnubia, who said it was wicked for any state government to think of cutting down workers’ pay at this time of economic hardship, described the Nasarawa State Government’s action as inhuman.
“ We are here today to show solidarity with our members in Nasarawa State who were killed and injured by overzealous policemen at the gate of the Government House, Lafia, for opposing the slice in their salary by the state Governor, Tanko Al-Makura.
“Why should workers be victims of every economic doom? When we have economic boom, nobody remembers workers.
“A bag of rice today is N23,000 or more and their minimum wage is N18,000. This is laughable.
“Why haven’t the governors sliced their wages and those of their aides?
“Our position is that any governor that can’t pay workers’ salaries should resign.
“Is it not laughable that the same salary paid when a bag of rice was sold for N9, 000 is the same salary that is paid when a bag of rice is sold for N23, 000 or more?
“Slicing of anybody’s salary now is not only wicked; it is criminal,” the NLC chairman stated.
The congress maintained that NLC would not relent until justice was seen to have been done in Nasarawa State over the killing of its members.
Meanwhile, members of the Bayelsa State chapter of the NLC on Tuesday poured out to protest the killing of their members in Nasarawa State.
Allied members of the organised labour in the state such as the Nigeria Union of Teachers, the Nigeria Union of Journalists, the National Union of Local Government Employees, among others, joined the protesting NLC members.
The protesters, led by the state Chairman, NLC, Mr. Ndiomu John-Bipre, converged on Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Road in Yenagoa, where they began their protest march en route the road leading to the Government House.
However, the protesters were not allowed to go beyond the state Sanitation Secretariat, as stern-looking riot policemen blocked the road leading to the Government House.
To avoid a repeat of the Nasarawa episode, John-Bipre and other protesters made a detour and converged opposite the Sanitation Office, where he read the speech of the National President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba.
Wabba lamented the killing of two of their members in Nasarawa State recently while on a peaceful protest.
He said the nationwide protest was to alert the public to the barbaric act and to demand that the relevant authorities prosecute the policemen involved in the dastardly act.
He also demanded that Nasarawa State Government compensate the families of the deceased members and to train their children.
Wabba said, “In Nasarawa State, two of our members were gunned down by the police. We have come out to sympathise with our slain brothers and friends who were killed during a peaceful protest as we are doing now.
“We are demanding that the Nasarawa State Government should compensate the families of the dead members and also take responsibility of the training of their children.”