Minimum Wage: Don’t violate human rights-PLAC tells FG, Labour

The Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has urged organised labour and the Federal Government to respect human rights in their face off over a new minimum wage for workers.

Both parties are yet to agree on a new minimum wage with labour insisting on N250,000 while the federal government has offered to pay N62, 000.

The Executive Director of PLAC, Clement Nwankwo, said in Abuja on Monday during a Dialogue Session on Exploring Remedies for Human Rights Abuses that on no account should the face-off lead to human rights violation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event, organised by PLAC, is in partnership with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

He said the course of negations and even in the face of an industrial action respect for the human rights should be uppermost in the minds of the leaders of both parties.

‘There is a struggle about minimum wage, whether labour is getting government to pay about N200, 000 to the least person or not. ‘I
t’s going to be a turmoil and we must all prepare because it will come with challenges of human rights abuses.

‘The struggle for human rights is an important struggle to entrench democracy. We have several instances today where people are detained without been tried”, he said.

He urged security agencies to see human rights activists and CSOs as partners in progress rather than as detractors.

‘It is important to understand that our work as human rights activists is we can use the agencies and NGOs we represent to advance the cause of human rights to better the conditions of living in the country,’ he said.

See also Edun to chair South-West public hearing on minimum wage

Mr Simon Musa, who represented the Ministry of Police Affairs, said the police working to ensure that human rights violation by police personnel did not go unpunished.

He spoke as a panellist on `Assess to Recourse for Victims of Human Rights Violation`.

‘Any member of the public who feels that a police personnel has violated his or her
right can approach us. We have handled so many of those cases and come out with results,’ he said.

Also, Mr Okoro Obioha, who represented National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said the commission was ready to provide assistance to those whose rights had been abused.

‘If a person’s right is violated and you go to the police, if the state is not able to prosecute and the victim gets access to justice, the state is seen as the violator.

‘If a matter comes to us for instance, and it has to do with criminal prosecutions.

‘And the commission does not have power to prosecute, we ensure that such victim gets the needed service from the relevant agencies of government,’ he said.

Mr Maurice Chukwu, of Amnesty International, said in many instance, some state security agency do not want to collaborate with the CSOs on matters of human rights abuse.

‘The bottom line is that 90 per cent of the human rights abuses that we document are caused by the security agencies and the government and we ask them to be accountab
le’, Chukwu said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria