The National Council of State following a closed door meeting today in Abuja announced the approval of a new minimum wage of N27,000 for Nigerian workers in the employ of the state government and private sector. Federal government workers on the other hand will be paid a minimum wage of N30,000.
Backstory: The meeting kicked off at 11am at the Presidential Villa in Abuja with President Muhammadu Buhari presiding. The president announced the new figure of N27,000 which is N3,000 less than the N30,000 demanded by the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labor confirmed this to members of the press at the State House at the conclusion of the meeting. He announced that a bill supporting the decision which covers all employers with a minimum of 25 workers within their establishments, will be transmitted to the National Assembly on Wednesday before the close of work.
Obasanjo and Buhari Temporarily Reunited: The National Council of State meeting also saw a quick reunion between incumbent President Muhmmadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, after Obasanjo had compared this current administration to the dark era of Gen. Sani Abacha, and the Presidency had described the former president as “sick” and “jealous”.
Also joining Obasanjo and President Buhari at the meeting were former President Goodluck Jonathan, former Head of Interim National Government, Ernest Shonekan, former military President, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, Head of Service, Winifred Oyo-Ita, National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and various governors and their deputies.
Bottom line: All eyes are on labour now. Will they accept the compromise figure of N27,000 for state workers and private employees? With the current minimum wage less than N20,000, the announcement today is something of a victory for Nigerian workers.