Stop dribbling Nigerian workers, N100,000 not enough to meet basic needs – Bishop Ezeokafor tells FG

Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor has advised President Bola Tinubu to slash jumbo pay of members of National Assembly in order to pay workers justifiable minimum wage. 

The bishop who stated this in an interview on Wednesday, expressed worry over the N62,000 Minimum Wage offer by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

He cautioned Federal Government against dribbling Nigerian workers, arguing that even N100, 000 would not be enough to meet the basic needs of Nigerian workers.

He predicted revolution if government remained adamant towards cutting cost of governance.

He said, “I’m not happy with the back and forth debate between the FG and the organized labour, and the debate ha started looking like something that can never be resolved.

“If you look deeply you begin to ask if those handling it are really sincere. If things are handled better, we will be able to meet the demands of the workers. I am so much worried about the happenings because I want this country to move forward.

‘It is unfortunate to hear about the debates. They met and proposed N30, 000; then N48, 000 and from there to N62, 000. To me, N100, 000 is even not enough, looking at how some persons siphon monies meant for every Nigerian. Watching how the national cake is being shared by these people, you’ll shudder.

“It is a question of living in a very big blessed country and at the same time the workers and masses are suffering because some individuals are taking home what belongs to society, leaving the workers and the general public to be gnashing their teeth.

‘Let us look at the N62, 000 proposal. From it, someone will take care of his health, transportation, accommodation, feeding and everything about life per month and one month is 30 days on the average. 

“It means N1, 000 per day and you go to the market, you will see how it is going and you go to buy drugs, the same thing, and if somebody is earning this type of money, that is the N62, 000 I’m not talking about the N30, 000 that is in vogue.

“Will that person ever be able to have a roof over his head? Building a simple house, maybe two-bedroom bungalow, it is not possible. And yet they see it as too much to be paid to the people. I do not believe that we are telling ourselves the truth.

“If we don’t take our time and do what we are supposed to do, we may end up putting this country into serious chaos. People are hungry and lack basic things. 

“Nigeria is so blessed with natural resources. Take for example petroleum alone. What comes out from it will serve Nigeria but, unfortunately, some people are putting things into their pockets alone and they consider it as their birthright at the expense of the members of Nigeria Society.

‘When I speak I’m not speaking only about the workers’ salary; I’m speaking about developing the country. We need to have a developed country from what God has given us. It is quite painful. 

‘When I hear people say that if government starts paying N62, 000 it cannot sustain it, I think such people may be selfish. If they are looking for where to source the money from, they should slash the National Assembly Members’ Jumbo Salaries.

“They should also slash those of the Governors’ and the Federal Government’s salaries and emoluments itself. Cut down the cost of governance. Use the money to settle workers and poor Nigerians.

‘See how the Burkina Faso President is managing the economy of the country. The President of Uruguay, see how he is managing their economy. I’m wondering why Nigerian workers should be the least paid in the world.

“The lifestyle of the Presidency down to the Governors and lawmakers is the reason we are where we are now. What extra job are they doing to warrant such jumbo salaries?  Labour should tell them that they can pay the money. Let them cut down the cost of running the government. 

“You see somebody debating paying N62, 000 while they are going home with 30 million Naira monthly. If government is sincere they should reduce the money they are sharing to themselves. If not, there could be a revolution,’ the Bishop predicted.

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