Security: NAF’s Operation Whrl, Destroy Bandits’ Camp  In Kaduna state; Tinubu Reaches Out To Labour Leaders Over Minimum wage

 By Suleiman Umaru

Worried by the indefinite strike that had been embarked upon by the Organised Labour, championed by Chris Ajaero, led Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC starting from Monday, June , 2024, which had  paralyzed the nation’s’s economic activities may have informed why President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former Lagos state governor has moved in swiftly to end the strike.

 The Nigeria’s President’s major worry was the shutdown of the national grid to stop power supply   by the striking workers who were said to have stormed the grid and plunged the country into darkness. There is no gain saying the fact that the darkness across the country may have given room to the Bandits Group, declared a terrorist Group by the Court to intensify their attacks on flash point Communities in Kaduna, Katsina, okoto, and Zamfara, described as the home of the Bandits.

National grid shut down by striking unions

T In dealing  with the Bandits in this trying times, the Nigerian Air Force  Operation  Whirl,  acting  on Intelligence  Surveillance  and Reconnaissance , IRS, had bombed  and destroyed  the  terrorists’ camp   in Giwa  Local Government  Area of Kauna state, and  between Friday  May 31, 2024 and Monday, June 4, 2024.

 The terrorists gangs may have realized that they could not take advantage of the striking  Labour unions  which had plunged the nation into darkness to intensify their attacks and kidnapping activities   within  the flash point Communities in Giwa, Birnin  Gwari and Igabi  LGA,s, of Kaduna  state, as they are under close watch  by the NAF, which  have the available air assets  to strike at their locations at any given time.

Another major worry of the Nigerian President  was the disruption of scheduled Local and international flights at the busy Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Murtala Muhammed International airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center, and other major air ports across the country.

Stranded Passengers at airport

The  former Lagos state governor who may have seen the indefinite  strike embarked upon  by the Organised  Labour to the refusal of the government to raise  the mnimum wage from the present  N30,000.00 to N494,000.00 as proposed by Labour Representatives in the Tripartite Committee appears to have seen the strike as a bad advertisement to the government.

Mohammed Idris, minister of Information and National Orientation,  was aid to have have asked the striking unions to sheath their sword  as the government  do not have the  N9.5 trillion  to pay  if it bows to pressure to pay the proposed Labour minimum wage of N494,000.00, , describing as’’ a burden  and untenable  for the nation’s lean finances’’.

The government was said to have proposed a 100% increase to N60,000.00, which was a far cry to Labour’s demand. Wale Edun , minister of Finance and Coordinating minister of the Economy, may have spoken the mind  of the President when he  said that the proposed Labour’s demand  for a national minimum wage of N494,000.00  was ‘’ economically unsustainable’’ , noting that  it will further destabilize the economy, which Muhammd Sanusi, a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and now Emir of Kano, was mismanaged in the eight years of former President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration.

According to the Labour and Employment minister, even with the N30,000.00 national  minimum wage, agreed by the tripartite Committee in 2019, during the then President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration,  some state governments  still can’t   pay it, let alone   increasing it to the N494,000.00 demanded by  the Organized Labour. 

Nigeria thrown into darkness by striking workers

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, minister of Labour and Employment,  who has remained uncomfortable since the Orgnised Labour  gave notice of the indefinite strike  has appealed  to the striking unions  ‘’to shelve  its ongoing  industrial ation  which has already  crippled   economic activities in  in the country.

An aggrieved Onyejeocha, who could not hide her feelings was said to have made it clear to the  Labour Leaders  that the Federal Government  is not the sole decider  of the country’s national minimum wage  as the state governments  and the Organised Private Sector, OPS, have an input to make  into it.

 Given that the one-day  old Organised Labour strike  have already paralyzed the nation’s economy  due to the inability of the Tripartite Committee to agree on an affordable minimum wage  for the country, may have encouraged the President , who believes that the  bulk stops on his table to step in.

Senator George Akume, a former governor of Benue state and Secretary to Government of the Federation, may have gladdened the hearts of the workers when he disclosed that the Tinubu’s government is committed to a national minimum wage above N60,000.00.  The SSG, who was said to have held a closed door meeting with the Labour Leaders at the FCT, on Monday, June 4, 2024, where he had announced that  the Tinubu’s Government is committed  ‘’to national minimum wage  that is higher than N60,000.00’’.

He did not stop there , he was said to have also informed the Labur Leaders, who in turn are expected to take the agreement reached to their  various unions   that the tripartite Committee  is to meet  every day  for the  next one week  with a view to arriving   at an agreeable  national minimum wage. The Presidential assurance, to pay a national  minimum wage  above N60,000.00 may have encouraged the striking unions to reconsider their decision over the indefinite strike.  

Falana, SAN, wants Attorney General of the Federation to sanction states that cannot pay national minimum wage

Femi Falana, a Lagos based legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, would want, Lateef Fagbemi , the Attorney General of the Federation  and minister of Justice to take  it up a responsibility to sanction states that had failed to pay the current N30,000.00 national minimum  wage to avoid making  a mockery of the new  national minimum  wage if agreed by the tripartite Committee in the next one week.

The Lagos based SAN, had said that   since  payment  of the minimum wage  is an agreement  entered  into freely  by all the parties,  state governments which are unable  to honour such a deal  are breaching the Law and must be sanctioned.  He insists that state governments, which had been accused over the years of diverting   monumental Local Governments Funds must be compelled to pay the national minimum wage.

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