Governors approve payment of minimum wage

WORKERS joy knew no bound in some states yesterday as they got assurances of payment of the N30,000 minimum wage from governors.

At rallies to mark the May Day, Edo, Adamawa, Ondo, Cross River, Zamfara, Oyo, Ebonyi, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Anambra governors said they would pay the wage.

Outgoing Governors Mohammed Bindow (Adamawa), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara) pledged to begin implementation of the pay before they go on May 29.

But Governor Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) said they were awaiting the National Income and Wages Commission (NIWC) to release modalities for the wages implementation.

In Calabar, Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade paid May salary to mark the day. But Labout protested, saying it was too early to do so.

The May Day was celebrated with fanfare across the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where Vice President Yemi Osinbajo took the workers’ salute on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The event went like this in the states:

Edo

Workers hailed Governor Godwin Obaseki when he announced plans to begin immediate payment of the minimum wage.

Speaking at the rally held at the University of Bénin Sports Complex, Obaseki said a joint team of labour and government officials would be raised to formulate modalities for the payment.

He said he would put in place motivational incentives for the workers because they remained valuable assets.

Adamawa

Governor Mohammed Bindow said he would pay the wage before he leaves office.

“I will pay the 30,000 minimum wage before I leave office,” Bindow said to the applause of workers who gathered at the Muhammadu Ribadu Square in Yola for the May Day rally under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

He said there had been no crisis with the workers since he became governor (in 2015) because he always carried them along.

“Welfare and good conditions of service have been important to us. There is no arrears whatever as far as salary is concerned. We have paid up to April 2019 and nobody can say we are owing him any salary,” he said.

The governor said the money he borrowed as governor was to augment income to settle salary, stressing: “I have not borrowed one kobo for capital projects. We did not borrow to execute any of the many capital projects that we’ve executed. We only borrowed to augment salary for civil servants.”

He asked the people to coorporate with the incoming government so that the state would progress. “The progress of Adamawa has always been my interest. I am happy we have done infrastructure which is important. I hope my successor will do more so that Adamawa can continue to progress,” he said.

NLC Chairman Mr Emmauel Fache asked the government to provide financial backing for the payment of recently promoted civil servants.

Ondo

In Akure, the Ondo State capital, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said his administration would continue to keep its promise to workers by making their welfare directive principles of state policy.

At the May Day celebration held at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Arcade, Igbatoro Road, he saluted the workers for their cooperation since the inception of his administration.

He said: “It is expected, therefore, that all those who serve diligently should also be catered for during and, more importantly, after they must have disengaged from public service.

“On our part, this administration continues to keep its promises to the workers and people of the state that their welfare shall be the directive principles of state policy. We have been able to strike a delicate balance in discharging this duty to both the workers and the people, within the available resources.

“Not only have we been able to manage the severely limited funds, our administration, with your commitment, has just been rated number one in Internally Generated Revenue rating in the country by the National Bureau of Statistics.

“We believe that the most effective way to ameliorate the poor living conditions of our people is to bridge the infrastructural deficit in the state.

“Unless and until the hinterlands, upon which our aspiration towards self-sufficiency in food production is anchored, are linked to the urban centres, in a design which promotes cooperation on socio-economic fronts, poverty will not be tackled effectively.

“The provision of social amenities such as water, as exemplified by the drive of the government to reach all the nooks and crannies of the state, as well as the recent supply of medical equipment to all the facilities in the 18 local governments, attune with our determination to make life more meaningful for our people.”

Cross River

Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade, through the Secretary to the State Government, Tina Agbor, promised to implement the new minimum wage as soon as the Federal Government sorts out the modalities.

The governor has paid May salaries, but labour complained that it was too early.

TUC Chairman Comrade Clarkson Otu said workers and the leadership of labour were unhappy over such early payment of salaries, even though the government means well.

“As labour leaders we do not support it (early salaries payment). We have told His Excellency that it is not proper. April salary was paid only last week and on May 1st he pays May salary. We are surprised he still paid early this month in spite of our protest. We will continue to engage him on that,” he said.

NLC Chairman Comrade Ben Ukpepi also decried the early salary payment.

Ukpepi said labour would engage with the governor to seek an end to the practice.

Zamfara

In Gusau, Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari said civil servants in the state would be the first in the country to enjoy the minimum wage.

He added that outstanding pension and gratuity will be settled before May 29.

Yari, who spoke through the secretary to the State Government Prof. Abdullahi Muhammad Shinkafi, urged the workers to cooperate with government on the ghost workers’ syndrome in order to enjoy more salary scale and other benefits.

The government, he said, faced difficulties in salary payments because of “incessant increase of ghost workers in the payroll”.

Yari explained that in most instances names of house wives are inserted in the payroll without the women’s knowledge.

Yari urged the workers to help government fish out unscrupulous top government officials that engage in the practice, stressing that the workers would be helping themselves by rendering assistance in sanitising the civil service.

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NLC Chairman Comrade Bashir Muhammad Mafara urged the government to fulfil its promises.

Mafara disclosed that the labor union in Zamfara state is ready to assist and cooperate with the government in any aspect that will ensure the welfare of workers.

Oyo

Governor Abiola Ajimobi said his administration would pay the wage after the ongoing conclusion of negotiations with labour leaders.

Represented by his deputy, Otunba Moses Adeyemo, at the Workers’ Day rally at the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan, Ajimobi reiterated his administration’s resolve to reach an amicable agreement with labour on the matter.

Ajimobi said: “Let me at this juncture congratulate the workers on the New Minimum Wage which has just been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“At the instance of the labour unions, government very recently, in furtherance of its responsibility as an employer of labour and indeed our exemplary cordial government-labour relations held a meeting on the issue of the National Minimum Wage Law 2019.

“I wish to restate the commitment of the government of Oyo State that the State will honour the Minimum Wage Act as soon as ongoing negotiations are concluded and necessary templates and documentation are issued.”

Ajimobi urged workers to reciprocate the government’s gesture by being more dedicated to their jobs. He also implored them to give the incoming administration of Mr Seyi Makinde the same support given to his administration in the last eight years.

The governor said workers affected during the certificate verification would be given a second chance to verify their claims, adding that “those with genuine cases would be reabsorbed into service as the administration had no interest in punishing innocent workers but those parading forged educational, birth and other certificates.

“I charge all workers to reciprocate the various good gestures of the state government by being more dedicated, proactive and punctual at their duty post for an overall increase in productivity. The public service is no longer a dumping ground for mediocre. We all must stand up and stand right to reposition the system for better service delivery.

“The state government has approved that those that were affected by the recently concluded certification verification be given a second chance to re-verify their claims. Those with very genuine cases would be reconsidered.

“The state government has no interest in punishing innocent people, however unscrupulous elements parading fake and forged educational, birth and other extraneous documents would not be allowed a place in the service of the State.”

Earlier, TUC Chairman Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran and his NLC counterpart Comrade Titilola Sodo called on the Ajimobi-led government to fulfil its promise on the minimum wage and provide a conducive environment for workers.

Ogundiran and Sodo urged the governor to settle lingering industrial issues and pledged that the workers would be more productive.

Ebonyi

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi has approved the N30, 000 wage and promised to continue to work for workers’ welfare in the years ahead.

Addressing workers during the Workers’ Day Celebration at the Pa Ngele Oruta Township Stadium, Umahi hailed the civil servants for their role in his reelection.

“In my presentation, I did promise that our state shall not be the first and shall not be last to pay the new national minimum wage. So I, therefore, approve the new minimum wage for our civil servants in the state”

He said his administration placed high premium on workers’ welfare, adding: “In my administration, all I have done in the last four years was to address your challenges and develop workable blueprint to address your problems; I am happy to say that within the years under review, tremendous milestones have been achieved in terms of prioritising your welfare”.

“Without boring you with the obvious, it has been my opinion that workers in this country are not yet at their best in terms of being taken care of, but with various programmes I initiated in my administration, I can beat my chest to say that we were not oblivious of these challenges staring you in the face but we have initiated measures to ameliorate your sufferings”.

“My administration has increased workers’ salaries by 5 percent in the face of the dwindling federal allocation accruable to states with Ebonyi at the lowest ebb. Beyond the increment in workers’ salaries, we have given workers over N4billion loan to access to go into agriculture to help them as no amount of wage increase can address the conflicting priorities of workers in this country”, he said.

Earlier, NLC Chairman Comrade Leo Nkah praised the governor for the workers’ welfare allowances and appealed for speedy implementation of the New Pension Law act of 2014.

Anambra

Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State on Wednesday reaffirmed his commitment to implementing the wage.

He said he would begin the implementation once the government release the guidelines for payment.

Addressing workers during the Workers’ Day celebration at Ekwueme Square, Awka, he said his administration was ready to offer better opportunities that would promote workers’ welfare.

He said, “I have formally declared the intention of my administration to pay the newly approved minimum wage in Anambra State.

“I will begin the implementation once the guidelines for the payment of the minimum wage are released by the Federal Government.”

The governor explained that his administration had been fair to the workers, saying, “We have never failed to pay salaries, come rain come shine.”

“We have cleared outstanding pensions that had accumulated for over 25 years, from the inception of our state. We have continued to give out bags of rice to workers to give everyone a sense of belonging during Christmas seasons.

“The Mass Transit buses we provided have made life more bearable to our workers. And in the middle of all these, we are carrying out the renovation of our secretariat to give it a proper facelift.” Earlier, NLC Chairman Comrade Jerry Nnubia praised the governor for his quality and visionary leadership, especially in providing security, which had attracted various investors for economic growth.

He however regretted the high rate of unemployment especially among the youths in the country. “This trend should not be allowed to continue otherwise it will spell doom economically, socially and politically in the country. TUC Chairman Comrade Ifeanyi Okechukwu urged the governor to sustain prompt payment of workers salary and promotion and further create windows of opportunities that would promote excellent service delivery.

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Delta

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa assured civil servants of his readiness to pay the minimum wage. He described labour unions as great defenders of workers’ welfare. Okowa said: “The efforts of the trade unions towards the promotion of the interests of workers have not gone unnoticed and I wish to reiterate the determination of the state government to pay workers the N30, 000 minimum wage approved by the Federal Government.”

“I, therefore, call on workers in the state to re-dedicate themselves to the service of our beloved state for the benefit of all.” The governor added: “The prevailing cordial industrial relations in the state have encouraged government to sustain its welfare and training programme; we have consistently paid salaries as when due; let me assure you all of this administration’s policy of investment in the well-being and professional growth of workers through training and exposure to modern techniques.”

He said plans were afoot to recall some employees that were dropped and “to open up more skill acquisition opportunities for the absorption of our youths to train in various fields and trades for self-employment.”

“I commend the labour unions for consistently defending and advancing the political, economic and social rights of workers; your efforts towards promoting the interests of workers have not gone unnoticed and as partners in progress, I enjoin you (labour) to continue your hard work, resilience and commitment because, we are partners in this undertaking of governance and together, we will succeed in building a greater Delta State,” he said. Highpoint of the occasion was Okowa’s presentation of a brand new car to a civil servant, Mr Benson Ekotor who was erroneously paid the sum of N53 million which he returned to public coffers. TUC Chairman Comrade Michael Nwobodo and his NLC counterpart, Comrade Goodluck Oforbruku thanked Okowa for being labour-friendly listing some of his administration’s activities to include prompt payment of salaries.

Rivers

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has assured workers of the payment of the minimum wage. He said he would begin the payment, as soon as he receives go ahead from the Federal Government. He said that he had long decided to pay the wage long before the President signed the bill into law. Represented at the Workers’ Day rally by his deputy Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, he thanked the workers for the contribution to the development of the state, promising to be more committed in addressing issues that affects workers in the state. He said “We have not and we will not default in the life of our administration.

We have kept to the regular payment of salaries since we assumed office till now. “As a worker-friendly government, we will continue to do our best to improve the working environment of our civil servants. “Although we are still financially challenged, I believe the time has come for us to motivate our workforce and challenge them to be more productive and committed to the state. “Accordingly, I am happy to announce the lifting of the ban on promotions in the civil service.

I wish to also inform you that we have approved the proposal of the Civil Service Commission for the recruitment of indigenes of the state to fill existing vacancies and strengthen the commission. Earlier, NLC Chairman Beatrice Itubo said: “The Labour family in Rivers State as a critical development partner is satisfied with the massive infrastructure development embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration.” She said: “Our thanks go to the government of Rivers Rivers State for showing preparedness to pay the new minimum wage as soon as formalities are done with.”

Lagos

Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode yesterday attributed the achievements of his administration in the past four years to the co-operation of the government, workers and union leaders. At the Workers’ Day Celebration at Agege Stadium where he was represented by the Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr Rotimi Ogunleye, the governor said he came to power with the resolve to improve workers’ welfare and also work closely with unions on how to address policy and infrastructural issues. “Having devoted myself to these objectives for the past four years and, having worked with you all (both workers and union leaders), I am glad to say that it has been a pleasure to be your partner on this journey.

I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and I am grateful for the cooperation and support that you have given me. “Indeed, I am pleased that working together, we have given the people of Lagos State four beautiful and productive years of sustained industrial harmony. This is, perhaps, the longest of such period in the modern history of our state and this achievement was made possible chiefly as a result of the culture of mutual respect and understanding we nurtured and deployed.

TUC Chairman Comrade Francis Ogunremi praised Ambode for his commitment to workers welfare especially in areas of prompt payment of salary, allowances and timely remittance of workers’ pensions, describing him as one of the most labour-friendly governors. He acknowledged the governor’s initiatives in key sectors including massive road projects, solving traffic challenges especially the launch of Traffic Information System, repositioning of the state emergency agency, scaling up security architecture of the state, construction of Safety Arena, Health Insurance Scheme, among others. NLC Chairman Comrade Sessi Agnes Funmi said the governor’s efforts remained a benchmark for other governors.

Akwa Ibom

Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel yesterday assured workers of prompt implementation of the minimum wage. He stressed his commitment to workers’ welfare, saying: “I want to assure you all that Akwa Ibom State Government will implement the new minimum wage Bill which was recently signed into law by President Buhari after necessary documentations have been effected. “We remain passionately committed to the welfare of our workers with the resources available.” He reiterated his commitment to the clearing of the 10 year backlog of pensions and gratuities. “About four years ago when I assumed office as the governor of this state, the economic frontiers were hazy and mired in uncertainties.

The nation was going through severe economic challenges and the ability of the newly sworn governors to fulfil critical obligations such as payment of salaries became a huge nightmare. ‘’Several state governments owed salaries to their workers and pensions and gratuities were affected…through prudent management of the lean resources available to us, we were able to not only pay salaries regularly, we went ahead to pay pensions and gratuities, an act we are still executing.

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‘’You will recall that one of the first tasks I performed shortly after being sworn in was to clear a 10-year back-log of pensions and gratuities”,he said. “The organised labour has been very supportive of my administration, and for this, I remain deeply indebted and grateful. ‘’The maintenance of industrial peace in Akwa Ibom State has helped in the realization of a stable economic growth in the state and an atmosphere of shared commitment to peace, prosperity and development of our dear stated,” Emmanuel said.

Osun

Osun state will begin the implementation of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) this month to facilitate accessible and beneficial healthcare to the people, Governor Adegboyega Oyeola said yesterday. According to him, the government will begin to release its counterpart funding by the end of the month.

He praised the workers for supporting the policies, actions and programmes of his administration. The Governor spoke at the Workers’ Day Celebration at the Osogbo City Stadium. Oyetola, represented by his deputy, Benedict Alabi, said the workers had shown their competence as the engine room of government. Oyetola said: “For these and more, I commend and celebrate the workers for a display of unparalleled commitment, industry and patriotism that are in tandem with the 21st Century competitive world.

“The conduct and character of workers have further given vent to the reputation of the state as one of the most peaceful states in the nation”. NLC Chairman Comrade Jacob Adekomi, lauded the government for prioritising the workers’ welfare. Adekomi hailed Oyetola for sustaining the full payment of salaries and pensions to workers since assumption of office. He said: “We appreciate the effort of the present administration in continuous payment of full salary to all and sundry in the state civil service. “We shall always be grateful to our governor having listening ears to our yearning as we look forward for a crisis free tenure.”

Enugu

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has reiterated his administration’s commitment to workers’ welfare, stressing that the determination “has become even more fortified”. Speaking at this year’s Workers Day celebration held at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, Ugwuanyi said his administration would continue to pay salaries and other emoluments as when due.

The governor said the state government “will continue to provide more conducive working conditions and to do all that is necessary to ensure that industrial harmony continues to prevail in Enugu State”. On the minimum wage, the governor assured the workers that “despite the daunting economic challenges, we will, in concert with the relevant agencies and departments of government, ensure that these issues are comprehensively and satisfactorily addressed”. Chairmen of TUC and NLC Comrade Igbokwe Chukwuma Igbokwe and Comrade Virginus Nwobodo hailed Ugwuanyi for his outstanding commitment to workers’ welfare and the existing harmonious relationship between labour and the government

Bayelsa

Governor Seriake Dickson told civil servants that the NIWC was delaying the payment of the wage. Though the workers, who gathered at the Peace Park, Onopa, Yenagoa, to celebrate the May Day raised their voices in disagreements, Dickson said that the NIWC must work out mo dalities for the implementation of the wage.

The governor noted that details of the modalities must be sent to all the states including Bayelsa before implementation. Dickson, however, assured workers that his administration had been at the vanguard of agitation for the new wage saying he was ready to pay the minimum wage. He said: “The government of Bayelsa state has announced over and over that we are not against N30,000 minimum wage in principle. We announced that severally at different times and fora and let me also say so today.

Ekiti

Ekiti State will not lag behind in the implementation of the minimum wage, Governor Kayode Fayemi said yesterday. Represented at the Workers’ Day rally in Ado Ekiti by his deputy Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, the governor said: “Every worker in the country is expecting payment of the new minimum wage. By the grace of God, Ekiti will not lag behind in its implementation. This, we believe, will inspire workers to give their best”.

He sought the workers’ cooperation with his administration to deliver democracy dividends. He spoke of his administration’s readiness to defray backlog of salary arrears, urging workers to be more effective and efficient at service delivery. Earlier, NLC Chairman Olatunde Kolapo urged the government to implement the minimum wage. Kolapo said Governor Kayode Fayemi remained workerfriendly for his penchant for placing premium on their welfare. He solicited for increment in the subvention to Ekiti State University, to enable the institution meet its objective in providing functional and quality education.

“The university is in dire need of better funding to be able to meet her needs as the internally generated revenue can no longer be sufficient to cope with increase in wages,” Kolapo said. In the same vein, the Trade Union Congress Chairman in Ekiti State, Sola Adigun who hailed Fayemi for commitment to welfare of workers, said: “It is gladdening to know that you are one of the very first governors who conceded publicly to the implementation of the new minimum wage. “Mr Governor, let me admonish you that the implementation of the new minimum wage should also commence with immediate effect as expressed by the Federal Government,” the TUC boss said.

Kwara

Kwara state Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed said the yet-to-be released template by the the NIWC was hampering his implementation of the wage. Represented by the Head of Service, Mrs Modupe Oluwole, at the Workers’ Day celebration in Ilorin, the governor said the wage template was the basic working tool for determining its implementation. The government, he said, had constituted a-13 man minimum wage reviewing committee to enable workers enjoy the new salary as soon as implementation begins. Earlier, NLC and TUC chairmen Alhaji Isa Ore and Kolawole Olumoh urged the government to ensure full implementation of the wage.

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