OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabianila has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to desist from calling out his colleagues over the consideration of the minimum wage bill.
The wage bill seeks to remove minimum wage from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list of the constitution.
Gbajabiamila, who expressed his reservation when he met with officials of NLC led by Mr. Ayuba Wabba, maintained that the lower legislative chamber would not shirk in its responsibility of making laws in the interest of Nigerians.
Gbajabiamila argued that the ongoing debate on the contentious bill sponsored by Mr. Mohammed Datti was in the line with global legislative best practices.
He urged the labour leaders to canvass their position against the bill in accordance with laid down rules and regulations.
According to him, “when issues like these come up, we should agree to disagree. In a democracy, we make our points, make compelling advocate and make representatives see reasons why this is not the way we should go.
“After all, nobody is a fountain of knowledge. That is why we debate the merits and demerits of the Bill. Where I had problem was casting aspersions on the proponents of the bill just because we have a difference in opinion. We can’t all agree all the time.
“I want a situation where you make your case at the public hearing or through advocacy platforms. That is the way I want us to approach the issue. I felt very bad when a legislator is castigated on a bill even if it is considered erroneous. It is all in the interest of the Nigerian people.
“When you begin to castigate a member, you are putting his life in danger because unforeseen things can happen to him.”
Gbajabiamila charged the labour leaders not to be perturbed since that the bill would die a natural death if it lacks the benefit to Nigerian workers after going through the whole process which includes a public hearing and passage by both chambers of the National Assembly.
The president of labour in his remarks expressed labour’s displeasure with the proposed bill since it would take away the in-roads recorded by workers in the past 40 years.
The labour leader asserted that the decision to place the issue of determining minimum wage in the exclusive legislative list was in tandem with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions 26 of 30th May 1928, and 131 of 1971 domesticated by Nigeria.
The NLC led workers on a massive protest against the wage bill last week.