Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment has threatened legal actions against state governors yet to pay the new minimum wage saying negotiations were ongoing between him and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, over instituting legal actions against governors who have faulted in paying the new minimum wage.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Programme, Sunday Politics, the minister said state governors not paying the minimum wage were breaching the law of Nigeria.
According to Ngige: “If you read the Act well, you will see the applicability of the Act. The applicability is that all parts of the Federation (Section II); Section III also says N30,000 shall be paid, the operating word is shall.
“It does not give room for picking and choosing, it is a must. The state governors that are not paying are breaching the law of the land.
“This is a national law that states what you will pay to the lowest-paid employee (worker) in your establishment; state governments are employers… they are caught in the web of this law until repealed.
“I am negotiating with the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF); the law permits me to take them to court.
“I can take any employer to court. If governors have immunity, I can start from the secretary to the government, to the head of service, and go down to the State Executive Council; take them all to court and I do not need any permission.”
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had in April 2019 signed the minimum wage bill into law and by the provisions of the law, all employers in the country are expected to pay their workers not less than the stipulated amount, which is N30, 000.