June 22, 2024

Minimum Wage: LP’s Kenneth Okonkwo urges Tinubu to consider NLC’s request

Kenneth Okonkwo

By Efe Onodjae

A chieftain of the Labour Party, LP, Barrister Kenneth Okonkwo, has urged President Bola Tinubu to find a solution to the demands of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC.

Okonkwo, who described the Tinubu administration as difficult to understand, lamented the persistent squandering that has characterised his one year in office.

Speaking to Vanguard after receiving an award at the 2024 5th edition of the African Illustrious Son Award in Lagos, he wondered why the government would say NLC’s demands were unaffordable.

According to him, the NLC demands were reasonable and objective.

His words: “The NLC did not bring about the policy causing this hardship in Nigeria. Nigeria has money, materials, and men, but we have incompetent and corrupt leaders. NLC and its workers should not be made to pay the price. How can one become an elected government official and instantly become a billionaire, while NLC members have been working for years?

“Now they want to start vandalizing the pension fund. These people have borrowed and squandered all the money, and now they want to vandalize the pension fund to buy private jets. No, the NLC demand is very reasonable and objective. If the government claims it is unaffordable, they should provide something reasonable enough for them.

“The federal government needs to change its policies. Let the security and welfare of the people be their central focus in planning, not selfishness and greed to satisfy their gluttonous appetite. This government must elevate the love of the country far above their love of capacity.

“The Federal Government is chasing rats while people’s houses are burning. It is very sad that while someone’s house is burning, you are chasing a rat. You are talking about a presidential jet when you removed the subsidy. Was this what you promised Nigerians? To buy a presidential jet? You have borrowed N17 billion in a year to buy a presidential jet.

“You have used N6 billion to build a car park for the national assembly members, N21 billion to build a house for a VP who already has a house. Former VP Osinbajo said he does not need that house because the VP house was good enough, yet you spend N21 billion within a year. You spend $20 billion on the house of your chief of staff, give billions to your wife, and then tell people you can’t pay them ₦62,000 or will pay them ₦62,000 as minimum wage when you use more than ₦50,000 to fuel your car. This government is incomprehensible. ₦2,000 for a dollar, right in your regime, after removing the subsidy.

“The previous government, when they partially removed subsidies, established a program to utilize the subsidy for the welfare of the people. This government has removed the subsidy completely and is squandering the money, imposing more taxes. Electricity tariffs increased. People started becoming hungry in this government from May 29, and they will continue to be hungry. Private jets will not solve their hunger. This government is getting worse every day. May God help us.”