While many Nigerians remain mired in poverty, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors, and their deputies may have received a hardship allowance of around N651.2 million during the course of the previous eight years of the Buhari administration.
The stipend, which is 50% of the annual base wage, is also given to judges in the nation.
According to a document downloaded from the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission website, the report concentrates on the funds allotted for the president, vice president, state governors, and their deputies.
The RMAFC paper said that the president is eligible for a hardship stipend of N1.76 million each year. Buhari would have received N14.08 million in hardship allowance over the course of eight years if this were the case.
Since the vice president is entitled to N1.52 million yearly, Osinbajo would have received N12.16 million in hardship compensation after eight years.
While a state governor is eligible for N1.11 million a year, a deputy state governor is only eligible for N1.06 million.
In eight years, the hardship allowance of the 36 state governors would have gulped N319.68m while that of their deputies would have gulped N305.28m.
Labour unions recently rated Buhari’s administration and state governors poorly, claiming they impoverished employees and caused misery for Nigerians as he spends his final days in office.
They bemoaned the nation’s skyrocketing inflation, which they claimed had undermined the recent wage increase of 40% that the Federal Government had granted with effect from January.
Hakeem Ambali, the national treasurer of the Nigeria Labour Congress, claimed that the departing administration had caused the workers in Nigeria great hardship and suffering.
He claims that under Buhari, the workers have experienced job losses, economic suffering, and other tragedies.
Ambali, who is also the President of the National Union of Local Government Employees, stated, “Under Buhari’s administration, just like every other successive administration, we have witnessed so many losses of jobs. Some governors laid off so many workers in the North, East and West. There has been a loss of lives as a result of banditry and kidnapping, especially in the South-East, South-West and in the whole North.
“As for today from my union, the National Union of Local Government Employees, we reside and work within the remote part of the country; any attack on government installations and infrastructure affect our people. Most of them were kidnapped in Kaduna.
“Also, one will realise that the road network is so poor. The erratic power supply has also reduced chances of Nigerians getting their daily living.’’
While criticizing the Buhari administration for its lack of adherence to labour regulations and pointing to its misuse of labor rules and practices, the labor leader also noted the absence of a social safety net in the nation.
The Trade Union Congress chapter in Ogun State and the Nigeria Union of Pensioners gave the Buhari administration poor marks in terms of the welfare and wellbeing of the populace.
Akeem Lasisi, the state TUC head, noted that the minimum wage had become meaningless due to the rising cost of living.
He said, “With the present high cost of living and hike in transportation and the rest, it seriously inflicted pains on the workers because the so-called minimum wage cannot take you anywhere. Workers are in serious pain because the salary can no longer take you anywhere.”
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 133 million Nigerians live in poverty. This statistic has prompted a recent warning from a civil society organization operating under the auspices of the International Human Rights Commission that this statistic could lead to a new level of hunger unheard of in Nigeria.
The non-profit organization underlined the necessity for the government to give people in rural communities more influence in order to combat Nigeria’s rising poverty while portraying the report as a warning of an impending economic disaster in the nation.
Dr. Duru Hezekiah, the IHRC’s Head of Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria and the organization’s Ambassador at Large, cautioned that the poverty rate, if not quickly addressed, would be a recipe for disaster.
He said, “We are really in an economic crisis. And if it’s not checked, I tell you, the time is coming when will go into a fiasco, a time is coming when in fact, Nigeria will be declared a ‘hunger country’, and that is why we are still appealing to the government.”
According to Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, Nigerians won’t perish but will learn to cope with the nation’s economic problems.
The minister said in a statement that the globe as a whole was experiencing economic challenges in addition to Nigeria alone, and that worker agitation for higher wages was not unique to Nigeria.
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