Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, says the money spent on chartered air by state governors will make it hard for them to afford to pay the N30,000 minimum wage.
Falana made this known on Thursday while speaking at the opening of the triennial national delegates conference of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Abuja.
According to him, all the state governors would be able to pay the new minimum wage if priorities are reordered.
Falana lauded the federal government for increasing the minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000, even though the new amount “is not a living wage” considering the provision of the constitution.
He called on the federal government to partner with the labour congress in order to ensure that “the wealth of our country is not dissipated”.
“All our governors now fly chartered air. You can’t pay minimum wage if you have to charter air. Therefore, I’m calling on the federal government to collaborate with the labour congress,” Falana said.
“It, therefore, goes to say that the national wealth shall be deployed by the government to promote national security, national prosperity and the welfare of our people.
‘‘In fact, Section 14 specifically says that the welfare and security of the Nigerian people shall be the primary purpose of government, therefore, knowing that the ruling class will not allow the government to promote security and welfare, the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and others have forced the ruling class to concede certain laws to promote the welfare of workers.’
‘‘The Federal Government must sit down with labour to ensure that the wealth of our country is not dissipated.
‘‘That is why I am going to call on Nigerian workers to collaborate with the Federal Government to fight corruption to a standstill because you are the greatest victims of corruption.’’
Falana had earlier called on workers to fight any governor who fails to pay the new minimum wage.
“Labour should unite to fight any governor who may not want to pay the N30,000 minimum wage. States should cut their expenses and engage in income generating ventures,” he had said.