Nigerian workers in their hundreds stormed the National Assembly complex in Abuja, demanding the withdrawal of a bill that would remove the National Minimum Wage from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list. About a fortnight ago, the House of Representatives introduced a bill which according to the sponsor, Hon. Garba Mohammed would allow both the Federal and state governments to freely negotiate the minimum wage with their workers in line with the nation’s federal system.
This move, the protesting workers say does not work in their favour, stressing that it is an attempt by some state governors and members of the National Assembly to short-change them. The workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress and its affiliates forced their way through the gate of the National Assembly despite attempts by security personnel to stop them. The workers were received by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Sabi Abdullahi who tried to pacify the protesters who were demanding to speak with the Senate President.
With both the Senate president and Speaker of the House of Representative absent, President of the NLC Ayuba Wabba again reiterated the position of the workers, saying if nothing is done to stop the bill, and ensure implementation of the national minimum wage, the organised labour will have no option than to embark on a national strike. Mr Wabba had earlier stated that the protest was to ensure that the right of Nigerian workers to enjoy the minimum wage in line with international standards, is established and not infringed upon.
After the briefing, the NLC president and his TUC counterpart presented the letter of protest to both representatives of the Senate President, Sabi Abdullahi and that of the House of Representatives Ado Doguwa.