Minimum Wage: Something seriously wrong with heads of Nigerian leaders – Fr Ehusani

The Executive Director of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, Rev Fr George Omaku Ehusani, has accused the nation’s political leaders of running an economic apartheid regime against the poor.

Ehusani, a former Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, said he strongly believes that something is seriously wrong with the heads of many of our leaders.

His statement followed the controversy surrounding the negotiation between Organized Labour and the Federal Government over the national minimum wage.

The cleric in a video obtained by DAILY POST on Monday wondered how political leaders go to bed in good conscience and come out to debate the sustainability or otherwise of paying N60,000 to the poorest of workers.

Ehusani described such an approach as wicked and a crime against humanity.

He said: ”I have been sick of this problem. I have been sick of this controversy over the living wage or minimum wage. And I strongly believe that something is seriously wrong with the heads of many of our leaders. How can anyone who earns N100,000; N200,000, N300,000; N400,000; N500,000; not talk of people who earn N1,000,000; and N2,000,000; how can they go to sleep in good conscience every day? How can they go to bed in good conscience and come out to sit in a boardroom to discuss the sustainability or otherwise of paying N60,000 to the poorest of workers? How can we go to bed and sleep all those who belong to the elite, who earn two, three, four…one million? How can you go to bed and sleep in good conscience I say, if you still have any conscience?

”I hear people on TV, economic experts, corporate executives, and government officials, who are taking home more than a million in a month, and they are there arguing that N60,000 or more will destroy the economy or is not sustainable. How wicked.

”You give N60,000 to a poor worker who might have a family of two or three, for his feeding, his accommodation, his house rent, his medical care, his children’s school fees; how wicked, how blind. How can we do that and think that God will bless our country?

”We think that it is by bringing a new National Anthem that God will bless our country.

How can you commit this crime against humanity? For me, this is a crime against humanity because the poor people cannot afford to buy garri, I am not talking of meat or fish. They cannot afford to buy drugs to cure malaria.

”How can we go to sleep in good conscience, for those of us who belong to the elite? We are debating but we voted N500,000,000 to meet to debate about paying N60,000 to the poor.

”My dear friends, I see this as a new form of apartheid. Nigeria is one of the most unequal societies in the entire world. A society where it is like an animal farm, where we have conspicuously rich people and others living in deplorable dehumanizing poverty.

”If you have someone in this country who takes N1,000,000 home in a month and opens his mouth to be part of a discussion about the poor getting N60,000, I mean he should keep his mouth shut. This time we are running an economic apartheid society of people of conspicuous consumption, flying in private jets around at government expense; people who are riding four, five, and seven SUVs with pilot vehicles chasing the poor out of the road. And poor people, you are debating, discussing over N60,000 for the poor. You will insult the poor by saying N30,000, and later you say N48,000. And now you say N60,000 and will pay over N60,000; you come out with N62,000. you insult poor Nigerians.

I have warned before that the revenge of the poor is at the corner. I am not calling for it but it will happen as night follows the day because when you reduce people to this dehumanizing level, nature does not allow a situation of an island of affluence amidst a sea of poverty. Nature does not allow it.

”Let me warn those in the elite, let me warn those in the tripartite committee, let me warn that it is in the cause of nature that when a predator continues to devour the very resources that the predator needs for its own sustenance, nature will take out the predator to have an equilibrium.”

DAILY POST reported that the Organised Labour said it will not accept any N62,000 or N100,000 “starvation wage” as the minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

It insisted on N250,000, being its latest demand at the last meeting of the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage on Friday, as the living wage for an average Nigerian worker.

Labour said should the Federal Government and National Assembly fail to act on the demands of workers by tomorrow (Tuesday), the organs of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, would meet to decide on the resumption of the nationwide industrial action relaxed last week.

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