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Minimum wage: You can’t impose federal structure on states, Govs tell FG

State governors have accused the Federal Government of trying to impose federal salary structure on state governments. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Wednesday, staged protests across the country against plan to remove Minimum Wage Act from the Exclusive List to Concurrent Legislative List. Already, a bill to such effect, sponsored by a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Garba Mohammed, has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

But Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the Federal Government negotiated with the NLC on new minimum wage and tried to impose it on the states. Fayemi, who spoke when Committee of Pro-Chancellors of state-owned universities visited him, said state governors are victims of Federal Governmen’s unitary approach to a federal structure. “You can’t impose a federal salary structure on states because we do not all have the same economic or financial situations.

“I, for example, do not have the resources of Lagos State, so you won’t expect me to earn the same salary as the governor of Lagos,” Fayemi stated. He told his guests that although no state government has fulfilled payment of salaries to states universities, but added that states are not always solely responsible for this.

“The people you appoint as Vice Chancellors need to speak truth to power, they need to be able to bite the bullet, and not just be a YES person. “We need to work together to confront these issues; we are running glorified secondary schools as universities by this system,” he added. Leader of the delegation, Mallam Yusuf Ali (SAN), had told the governor that education in Nigeria is in shambles. Ali, who is Pro-Chancellor of Osun State University, said the seamless educational progression that Nigeria needs is being hampered by paucity of finances, which he added, resulted in the unions within the university system declaring industrial disputes.

He pleaded with governors to take over the burden of payment of salaries of state universities, reintroduce scholarships for indigent students and assist the Committee of Pro- Chancellors of State Universities to erect a secretariat of her own to facilitate her activities. Ali also called on state governors, who are visitors to state-owned universities, to relegate politics to the background on matters relating to education in their states. The governors earlier kicked against the new minimum wage on the ground that most of them were yet to pay the N18,000 minimum wage.

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