Centre Fears Kenyan Experience Over Minimum Wage, Kano, Rivers Crises

Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) has called on the federal government to resolve minimum wage issues with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to avert violent protests like those currently happening in Kenya.

It made the call in Abuja during a press briefing on the Kano emirship tussle and the Rivers State political feud.

The chairman of the board of trustees of CCC, Major General Christopher Olukolade (rtd), said such developments have a tendency to snowball into violence.

He said, „As a country grappling with the various internal security challenges, the Centre for Crisis Communication cautions against opening up another theatre of crisis. We urge all citizens to embrace peace and security and refrain from any actions that may further exacerbate the situation.

“We also appeal to political, religious, and community leaders to work together to address the underlying issues driving this tension and promote dialogue instead, promoting understanding and peaceful resolution of conflicts.

“We believe that Nigeria‘s diversity is a strength and that our differences can be resolved without unnecessary tension and crisis“.

He said the government and organised private sector should resolve minimum wage negotiations as a matter of urgency, as they have lingered too long.

“We have identified potentially violent or volatile developments in the country which we believe could spark off unnecessary crises with far-reaching consequences to our national security if they are not well managed. And that’s why I want to identify the ones we can pick on, among many others.

“First on that list is the yet-to-be-resolved minimum wage issue, which has pitted the labour movement against the federal government. We do not subscribe to sweeping this issue under the carpet.

“We, therefore, want to call on the government unequivocally and the organised private sector to summon the required courage to take a decision on this matter and to meet and resolve it once and for all, rather than to postpone the resolution of this issue constantly.

“So, the time to conclude the negotiation that has lasted so long is now, and the earlier it is done, the better. We strongly suggest that it should be completed. Let’s decide on the nation’s minimum wage as it matters,” he said.

The centre is also concerned over the antics of those calling for re-enactment of the anti-tax crisis in Kenya.

He said, „Those who believe that such destructive protests in Nigeria will be a way to resolving a crisis are rather calling for what is not consistent with our future and desire for a peaceful and progressive nation.

“So we want to caution against such tendencies and advise that the development in Kenya to their protests on tax is not a model for us to adopt in resolving our issues in a democracy and that the situation in Nigeria can be better managed with good consensus, discussions, and the necessary consultations.

“In other words, we are strongly against referring to the Kenya-Nigeria civil model. The outcome of the protests is still fresh in our minds, and it‘s not a thing to re-enact by any other means“.

Olukolade said the political feud in Rivers State has tendencies towards crisis and called on the parties to act in the people‘s general interest.

“We are using this opportunity to call on those involved to sheath the sword and relate, and when they relate, we believe that this could be solved, and there‘s no need to plunge that state into crisis“.

“We don‘t want to see a ripple effect of whatever is going on regarding the altercations at the moment“.

He added that the emirship tussle presents a huge potential for volatility.

“We do not want it to slide into trouble because of the emirship tussle. We cannot combine that with what‘s happening in the Rivers State,“ he said.

The centre also expressed concern over the prevalence of fake news and hate speech, especially on social media, and called for a deliberate effort to discourage such tendencies.

“Nigeria‘s unity and corporate existence is more important to us than any achievement through fake news and unnecessary sentiments,“ Olukolade said.


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