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Insecurity: Why elites in Nigeria are in danger, including me — Ngige

Federal Government has warned employers of labour to provide decent jobs for workers in the country or face severe consequences.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, said this in a statement signed by Mr Charles Akpan, the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, in Abuja on Monday.

The statement quoted the minister to have spoken while addressing a joint visit by the leaders of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

The minister urged employers of labour and Labour unions to pay greater attention to providing formal and regular jobs for workers across the federation.

He noted that unemployment and indecent jobs were huge incubators of national insecurity.

According to him, insecurity is caused by people who feel cheated by the society. They carry arms and weapons to vent their anger on the elites.

“So, the elites in Nigeria are in danger, including me and all of us.

“Hence, the sooner we start talking to elites in organisations like yours (IPMAN), the better. So, we can curb this malady and prevent it from escalating.

“When you refer to the nexus between job vulnerability and insecurity, you hit the nail on the head.

“A lot of insecurity problems we have today is caused by unemployment and underemployment.

”In underemployment, people are not making up to the National Minimum Wage or working up to eight hours a week which is the ILO standard for full employment.

“There is a lot of danger if we fail to effectively tackle this. But we are doing our best,” he said.

The minister commended IPMAN for putting its house in order and for being thoughtful of the lots of workers in its employ through decent jobs and job formalisation.

Ngige added that the good news here is that workers you seek to formalise are in the informal sector. You intend to do micro pension for them and bring decency to their work.

”Of course, the ILO principles of decent work enjoin member states to do stage by stage formalisation of the informal sector.

”But I must tell you that it is very difficult here, because a lot of workers in our informal sector are not in unions. They are not unionised. IPMAN has therefore taken the bull by the horn.

“Here, we are talking of pump dispensers, cashiers, others doing mechanical work like vulcanizers, those doing wheel balancing and alignment, among others.

”They are informal, but with them being captured and formalised gradually, the nation is aligning with the ILO decent work agenda.

“It required all nations to work towards the total actualisation by 2030. I therefore commend IPMAN for this good step forward,” Ngige said.

He, however, reminded IPMAN that formalising these workers comes with an attendant burden of compliance with the payment of the N30,000 National Minimum Wage.

According to him, you must comply with the National Minimum Wage of N30,000 for each of those persons dispensing fuel and those doing allied works.

”The Minimum Wage Act gives a number of persons in an organisation that draws such an organisation into the Act.

”Any place you have more than 25 persons, the Act says you must formalise. It is in your own interest and in the interest of the workers too,” he said.

Ngige also called on all private school proprietors in the country to formalise the teachers in their employ and pay them decent wages.

“I use the instance of your efforts and this visit, to call on private school proprietors to come forward and formalise their teachers.

“Those teachers are neither formalised, protected nor have pension.

”As a matter of fact, their salaries at times are below the Minimum Wage and that is wrong. In these schools, you see people earning N20,000, N25,000 yet they are teachers.

”You ask yourself; what is the quality of teaching and the quality of pupils, students therefrom?

The IPMAN National President, Elder Chinedu Okonkwo, said the visit was to seek the collaboration of the ministry in keying into the Federal Government’s Micro Pension Plan for millions of its workers.

“We want to get the drivers, depot representatives and other ancillary workers enrolled into this scheme so as to add value to their welfare and enhance the status of their employment.

”If achieved, it will help the country curb insecurity, reduce restiveness through creation of wealth and its reductive effect on poverty,” he said.

The Director General of the National Pension Commission was represented by Dauda Ahmed, a director in the commission, during the visit. 

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