THE Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG) has accused the Nigeria Governors Forum of being economical with the truth for allegedly claiming that most states are incapable of implementing the new salary structure with regard to the new national minimum wage.
The group, in a statement by its national coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, said it viewed the governors’ reluctance in effecting “this emoluments of workers” and regular payment of pensioners’ entitlements as a breach of trust and violation of the constitution which they swore to protect.
The MMWG rejected the position of the governors, saying apart from the federal allocations which come into states’ coffers every month, there are internal sources of revenues that are generated to augment the allocations.
It noted, however, that the workers the governors “refuse to pay their right entitlements” are the ones generating these revenues.
The statement reads in part: “We call on all heads of service and members of executive councils of the 36 states of the federation to admonish their chief executives rightly instead of protecting their jobs by refusing to tell the governors the truth.
“The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria maintains that all the governors can pay the new salary structure. The untenable excuse that governors were not party to the minor increase to earnings of officers on Grade Level 07 to Grade Level 17 is unacceptable because what was approved in this regard is so insignificant as to raise the wage bill beyond their ability to pay.
“In addition, failure to adjust the salaries of Grade Level 07 to Grade Level 17 officers would be tantamount to paying the juniors more than the seniors or bringing the juniors at par with their seniors in remuneration package. The view that the governors would pay N30,000 minimum wage but cannot effect increase in other Grade Levels is, therefore, a ruse and nonsensical.
“If states prioritise their expenditures, they would pay; retirees would get their benefits as and when due and infrastructure would also receive a significant boosts.
“We call on Nigerian governors to fear God and be just as they have sworn to God, in order to save themselves from God’s wrath. There are many areas in which they could save funds to cater for the needs of their people.”
These include reduction of local and foreign trips as well as the entourage; flushing out of ghost workers and pensioners; checking corruption in awards of contracts and scrapping of unviable companies and agencies and moving their manpower to other viable MDAs.
“MMWG calls on states’ labour unions not to negotiate afresh with any governor on this issue of new salary structure. Rather, they should fight for rights of their members lawfully and peacefully.
“The time has come for citizens of this country spread across the states of the federation to take their destiny in their own hands otherwise none of the governors would take their responsibilities seriously.
“It must be noted that from a worker, five to 10 people benefit from their earnings and we cannot watch helplessly and allow these innocent people to suffer unjustifiably. The Federal Government has done its best, the states must follow suit.”