Femi Emodamori, an Ondo-based legal practitioner, has described as “unjust” the Nigerian government’s continued payment of the N30,000 minimum wage for public servants.
Mr Emodamori, in a statement on Sunday in Akure, the Ondo state capital, said President Bola Tinubu needed to buckle up and tackle the “abysmal” minimum wage payment with a decent living wage for the Nigerian workers.
“The current N30,000 minimum wage in Nigeria translates to an abysmal $40. That, to me, is nothing but a slave wage,” Mr Emodamori said.
He said the current minimum wage in Nigeria was a gross violation of Article 23 (3) of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides that: “Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by means of social protection.”
According to Mr Emodamori, the Nigerian Senate, in the last two years, increased the feeding cost of an inmate from N450 to N1,000, which translates to N30,000 per month, the same minimum wage paid to Nigerian workers.
While observing that a prisoner pays no rent, transport fares, electricity bills, or any other utility bills, the legal practitioner explained that paying the same N30,000 approved for feeding an inmate compared with a civil servant with a wife and at least two children and paying annual house rent, daily transport fares was “tantamount to servitude.”
He noted that the country could not have a decent living or minimum wage with anything worse or less than the Nigerian prisoners’ template.
Mr Emodamori later argued that the Nigerian worker and family members deserved higher than a prisoner’s daily feeding allowance.
“If we feed every prisoner with N1,000 daily, then a man should not feed himself and a wife, as well as two children with less than N4,000 daily (which translates to N120,000 monthly) for him and his family to enjoy just the prisoners’ portion. Would that be asking for too much? The N120,000 is just about $160, using an exchange rate of N750 to a dollar.”
He, however, affirmed that there’s too much anger in the land, stressing that Nigerians are dissatisfied and already angry.
“There is an urgent need for us to assuage their despondency by paying them a decent and realistic living wage, which cannot, in any way, be less than our own prisoners’ feeding template,” the lawyer added.