Ngige knocks governors negotiating minimum wage, threatens legal action

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Wisdom Deji-Folutile

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has faulted state governors for refusing to pay the minimum wage to workers in their states.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Minimum Wage Repeal and Re-Enactment Act into law on April 18, 2019, however, in 2021, some states have still been unable to pay the new minimum wage due to inadequate funds.

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However, Ngige has now come down heavily on the governors who have refused to pay the minimum wage.

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He said, “If you read the Act well, you will see the applicability of the Act. The applicability is that all parts of the federation (Section II); Section III also says N30,000 shall be paid, the operating word is ‘shall’.

“It does not give room for picking and choosing, it is a must. The state governors that are not paying are breaching the law of the land.”

The minister threatened legal action against state governors if they continued to negotiate the minimum wage.

He added, “Any state government or employer that negotiates minimum wage like some of them are doing with their unions are running afoul of the law.

“I can take any employer to court. If governors have immunity, I can start from the secretary to the government, to the head of service, and go down to the state executive council; take them all to court, and I do not need any permission.”