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Prosecute States That Fail to Pay Minimum Wage, Falana Urges AGF

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By Milcah Tanimu

Renowned Nigerian human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has called on the Attorney General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, to take legal action against any state government that fails to pay the mandated N30,000 minimum wage. Falana emphasized that non-compliance with the minimum wage law constitutes a legal violation since it is a mandatory agreement.

Falana pointed out that once a new minimum wage is agreed upon, it becomes a legal obligation. He stated that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government and the Attorney General to ensure that any state government failing to meet this obligation is prosecuted.

“The attorney general can initiate a new case, which is a positive step, highlighting that for years, state governments have been accused of diverting funds meant for local governments,” Falana said during an interview on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief on Tuesday.

the removal of the fuel subsidy and the fluctuating naira have intensified demands for a new minimum wage due to the rising cost of living in Nigeria. Despite numerous meetings, the Federal Government and organized labor unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), have yet to agree on a new minimum wage, leading to strikes that have disrupted economic activities.

Falana argued that with the removal of the subsidy, states have more financial resources and can no longer claim a lack of funds as an excuse for not paying the minimum wage. “There is no state in Nigeria today that cannot pay more than the minimum wage because the government removed the fuel subsidy last year and promised that the funds saved from this policy would be allocated to state governments,” he stated.

He insisted that state governments must be compelled to pay the minimum wage and advocated for the deduction of workers’ salaries directly from the source.

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