The Committee of Youths on Mobilisation and Sensitisation (CYMS) has urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to consider the government’s ability to sustainably pay the proposed minimum wage.

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This call was made by the CYMS Director-General, Mr. Obinna Nwaka, during a thanksgiving service marking the end of the 2024 Youths’ Week at the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nyanya, Abuja on Sunday.

The service, themed “Promotion of Peaceful Coexistence and Religious Co-creation in our Nation,” provided a platform for Nwaka to address the current economic situation in Nigeria.

He emphasized that the N250,000 minimum wage demand by the NLC is unrealistic given the country’s financial constraints.

“The federal and state governments may struggle to pay if the amount is unrealistic,” Nwaka noted, pointing out that Nigeria is still recovering from the economic challenges of the past administration.

Nwaka warned against making promises that could destabilize the nation, arguing that a significant salary increase would be insufficient if critical infrastructure and public services remain inadequate.

He advised labor leaders to focus on broader systemic issues rather than solely on wage increases.

“We are in the same shoes. Labour, for example, can advocate for good governance; it’s not just all about minimum wage,” Nwaka added.

He called on the NLC to direct their efforts towards advocating for improved healthcare and education services, as well as the provision of critical infrastructure.

He stressed that these measures would have a more significant impact on the quality of life of Nigerian workers.

“Even if they are paying you 500,000 Naira as a salary, it will not be enough if a healthcare facility is not there, if infrastructure is not there, and if we cannot even send our children to a public school.

The NLC should focus on motivating the government to invest in these essential sectors,” he said.

During the event, Rev. Samuel Labuja, the minister in charge, emphasized the importance of unity and development.

He advised youths to maximize their potential and invest in self-reliance ventures rather than depending solely on white-collar jobs.

“The youths should understand that we can’t live together without peace, and the best we can do to make the nation move forward is to live in peace.

Youths should learn not to depend on salary alone. They should make use of their God-given talent to earn more resources. Whatever you are doing, do it well to the glory of God to earn a living,” Labuja said.

The Church’s Youth President, Mr. Bobby Odia, described the week-long conference as impactful. Odia highlighted that the youths, as future leaders, have understood the need to contribute their resources towards the country’s development. “We just celebrated the 2024 Youths’ Week with the theme, ‘Stand Firm and Take Charge,’ and for us to be the future of tomorrow, we have to utilize our energy for the good of our nation,” he said.