BY ABDULLAHI OLESIN, Ilorin
The vice president of the Industrial Global Union (IGU) and member of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), Comrade Issa Aremu, has advocated minimum pension for Nigerian retirees.
He said just as the nation has minimum wage for serving civil servants, there should also be minimum pension for retirees across board.
Aremu, added that the new minimum wage negotiations and commencement of implementation should not last more than six months.
He made the call at the weekend in his address at the official unveiling of Hamdalat Aremu/NUJ Mosque at the premises of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara State Council, along Offa Road, G.R.A. Ilorin, Kwara State.
The Mosque which was constructed and named after Aremu’s late wife who died two years ago, was unveiled by the President of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU), Alhaji AbdulHamid Adi.
Aremu, decried the condition of living of some Nigerian pensioners due to the meagre and irregular monthly pension they were receiving.
The labour leader urged governments at all levels to be sensitive to the plight of senior citizens who have served the country meritoriously in various capacities.
The labour leader said it is constitutional that minimum pension must also be undergoing regular review each time the minimum wage is considered for a review.
Aremu, who is also the vice president of NLC said the 1999 Constitution, states that the primary purpose of governance is the security and welfare of the citizen and expressed regret that out of the four billion people worldwide without social protection, the significant number of them live in Africa, mostly Nigeria.
“Nigerians, old and young, men and women now beg to pay to meet basic desperate hospital health challenges, students whose parents are unemployed beg to pay fees, unemployed who resist criminality have turned destitute,” he added.
He added that Nigeria and Nigerians do not need Ministries of Happiness, saying that what “we need is real and sustainable happiness.”
Aremu said the responsibility of the government as an enforcer of labour laws is to ensure that minimum standards are maintained with respect to decent wages for workers by both the public and private sectors.
“The federal, states and local governments are not just employers of labour, they are also enforcers of labour laws and have the responsibility to ensure minimum standards are maintained with respect to decent wages for workers by both the public and private sectors,” he said.