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Ministry of labour and the wage crisis

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Eric Teniola

THE Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity recently renamed as Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment is one of the oldest ministries in Nigeria. It began as a Department of Labour in the then Colonial office in 1932 and developed into a full-fledged ministry in 1952.

The ministry is established under item 34, Second Schedule of the Exclusive List, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The following have served as permanent secretaries in the ministry:  Chief M.A. Tokunboh, Chief S.O. Koku, Chief T.E. Salubi, Mr. E.O. Olowu, Chief Owelle Chikelu, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Mr. Stephen B. Agodo, Ambassador A.O. Adekunle Olumide, Alhaji Abdallah Z. Hashim, Alhaji S.M. Jega (1994-1995) and Mr. Samuel C. Nwokedi (1995-1997). Others were: Mr. Daniel O. Oyegun (1997-1998), Mrs. Lois N. Asugah (1998-2000), Ambassador Godfrey B. Preware (January 2000-August 2002), Mr. Ayodeji O. Omotade (August 2002-December 2003), Dr. Timiebi A. Koripamo-Agary (December 2003-June 2007), Professor Oladapo Afolabi (July 2007-November 2007), Alhaji Suleiman D. Kassim (November 2007- December 2008), Dr. Haruna U. Sanusi (December 2008-January 2009), Ambassador Chike Alex Anigbo (February 2009- June 2010), Professor Simon O. Ogamdi (July 2010-January 2011), Engr. Anthony Z. Ozodinobi (January 2011-March 2012), Dr. Tunji Olaopa (March 2012-March 2013), Dr. Clement O. Illoh (March 2013-August 2017), Bolaji Adebiyi (August 2017-June 2018), Mrs. Ibukun A. Odusote (July 2018-March 2019) and William Alo (March 2019-till date)

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The following have also served as ministers or ministers of state. They are Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, (1952), Dr. Emmanuel M. Endeley (1952-1953), Mr. M.T. Mbu (1953-1954), Chief F. Okotie-Eboh (1954-1957), Chief J.M. Johnson (1957-1964), Prince Adeleke Adedoyin (1965-1967), Chief Anthony Enahoro (1967-1975), Major General H. Adefowope (1975-1978), Mr. S.O. Williams (1978-1979), Mr. S.A. Ogedengbe (1979-1982), Professor E.C. Osamor (1982-1983), Alhaji Ali Baba (1983-1984), Major General S.K. Omojokun (1984-1985), Vice Admiral Patrick Koshoni (1985-1986), Major General I.O.S Nwachukwu (1986-1987), Alhaji Abubakar Umar (1987-1990), Engr. Bunu Sheriff Musa(1990-1993), Prince Bola Afonja (1993), Senator Francis J. Ellah (1993-1995), Senator Mohammed Uba Ahmed (1995-1998), Dr. Emmanuel Onyemaechi Udogu (1998-1999), Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas (1999-2000), Alhaji Musa Gwadabe, Alhaji Zannuwa Husaini Akwanga, Dr. Hassan Muhammed Lawal (2004-2008), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode, SAN,(2008-2010), Senator Ibrahim M. Kazaure (2010), Chief Emeka Wogu (2010-2014), Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki (2014-2015), Senator Joel Danlami Ikenya (2015), Barrister James Ocholi, SAN  (2015-2016), Professor Stephen Ikani Ocheni and Senator (Dr.) Chris Nwabueze Ngige.

The Ministry was created after the start of World War II to coordinate resources for war efforts, with first one and then two labour inspectors attached to the Governor’s Office. With growing worker agitation over cost of living allowances, the Department of Labour was established on October 1, 1942.

It was headed by a commissioner and two labour officers, and was charged with dealing with labour movement issues, ensuring the orderly development of industrial relations and enforcing protective legislations.

The organisation grew as the war progressed, with offices opened in the industrial centres of Enugu, Kaduna and Lagos. Later a Ministry of Labour was created in addition to the Department of Labour, and the two were merged on April 1,1958.

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