From the CourtPilot Law

Minimum Wage: Its injustice for govt to deny workers meagre N30,000 – Barrister Akorede

Barrister Abdulrazaq Sheu Akorede graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1991 and proceeded to the law school in 1992. He was subsequently called to Bar in 1993, he had his practice at a law firm in Oshogbo before coming down to Ilorin to join Saka Isau & Co. (SAN). After spending two years, he later pulled out to establish Abdulrazaq Shehu & Co (Akorede Chambers) in Ilorin. In this interview, the former Commissioner of Water Resources and onetime House of Assembly aspirant in the state shed light on some issues of interest within the judiciary. Excerpts:
How can law help to end the enduring tussle concerning the minimum wage between the government and labour union?
Well, naturally, it’s not as if we don’t have the laws, they are there. But no matter how we try, you don’t get to the middle of the field and shift the goalpost in a football match. That is one aspect of our problem. Secondly, irrespective of our solutions to these issues, a society that is not based on equity and justice will continue to live in shambles. That is exactly what is happening. If I have my way, the issue of the minimum wage should be part of security affairs one way or the other; it should not be left open. For whatever reason that an increment is made to the wage of workers, it should not be thrown open because at the moment such is done and the people are aware, there will be inflation and a corresponding increase in food items. The whole essence of increasing the minimum wage will be defeated. Furthermore, there is no equality in the amount of pay between workers and legislators and other certain categories of workers, yet we go to the same market. We are only fooling ourselves not with all the allowances that the lawmakers and other categories of workers collect and yet, we find it difficult to pay workers N30,000. We are not living based on equity and fairness. The government ban the importation of rice for the masses, are we saying the local rice is what those in Aso Villa consume. The customs are there pursuing people here and there and they will eventually sell the cars they seized within themselves. There is no fairness, equity and justice in the land and that is why we having all these problems. Once there is social justice, then there can be maintenance of peace, law and order. The American system is there because it is based on these three principles even though the still have their own shortcomings.
People have called for the eradication of police from the street because of the atrocities of some officials. How do you react to this?
Well, if we say we don’t want the police again, then we have to make friends with the criminals. Even within the time that the last agitations were on, we all saw what we actually went through. So we still need the police, the only thing is that apart from the issue of reformation, once people have the hope and confidence that there will be justice in all aspects of our endeavours including the issue of minimum wage, there will be no problem. The police need to be well paid and well taken care of and once we achieve that, seventy-five percent of the police will be okay and that is a pass mark in all ramifications. They will tell you bail is free, but I can’t imagine when last I did bail for free and even your client will provide you money before you get there to bribe the police for bail.

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