Labour unions and civil society organisations in Lagos Tuesday marched to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s office to seek his intervention towards the implementation of the proposed new minimum wage.
The march, part of a nationwide protest to drum up support for the implementation of the proposed minimum wage, started at the Maryland area of Lagos and ended at the Lagos State House of Assembly involved various labour unions and civil societies including the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Joint Action Front (JAF), and others.
While presenting the request letter to the representative of the governor, Adeyemi Oladejo, the Senior Special Adviser to the governor on Civic Engagement; Solomon Adelegan the National Vice president of the Nigerian Labour Congress expressed disappointment over the treatement meted out to organised labour by state governments and political leaders.
“We are not happy that the governors of Nigeria are the ones standing between us and the payment of the new minimum wage,” Mr Adelegan said.
“A councillor in Lagos collects the same salary as a councillor in Osun, Kano and Akwa Ibom and same goes for the governors and other political office holders but when it comes to paying labour, they keep saying they don’t have the ability to pay and there is no money but there is always money to pay themselves.”
“Ambode met us here and despite seeing that it is labour, he left us without attending to us to go and attend to politicians at a rally. We have leaders of various labour unions here and I hope they remember that we are the golden hens that lay the golden egg.
“This is not the first time we will be treated this way and it’s not too good.
“We have however come here to ask Mr Ambode to talk to his colleagues and ask them to support and implement the new minimum wage.”
The angry protesters initially refused to be addressed by the governor’s representative, launching into chants of ‘Ole ole ole’ (thief thief thief) when it was time for Mr Adeyemi to speak.
The governor’s aide said he was disappointed with the treatment he received from the protesters, noting that it was unfair to a government that pays its workers on the 22nd of every month.
“There was no previous information that the NLC was coming,” he said.
“If you want to use someone to appeal to others and you are abusing the person I don’t think it’s okay. We always allow them to come to the podium and address the house but today I don’t know what is happening.
“The letter they want to deliver, I will take it on behalf of the governor and I know he would ensure it gets to the appropriate quarters. I know the state labour can send their governor anywhere and to anyone but to treat a governor that pays every 22nd like this, I don’t think it’s too good.”