By Eric Ikhilae and Frank Ikpefan
Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige has attributed Nigeria’s worsening insecurity to unemployment and underemployment.
He urged the elites, particularly employers of labour, to address the twin problems so that peace and security could prevail across the land.
Ngige spoke yesterday in Abuja while hosting the national officers of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), led by their National President Chinedu Okoronkwo, who was accompanied by the association’s consultant, Dr. Maurice Ibe of The Benham Group.
The IPMAN leaders were in the minister’s office to seek his support for the association’s plan to enrol its over 2.5 million members into the Federal Government’s Micro Pension Plan (MPP). Officials of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) were also present.
Ngige said: “A lot of the insecurity problems that we have are caused by unemployment and underemployment.
“In underemployment, people are not making money up to the minimum wage of N30,000 monthly or they are not working up to eight hours in a week, which is the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard. For full employment, that person must be in a workplace and doing eight hours.
“Insecurity is caused by people who feel cheated by the society. They carry arms, they carry daggers, among other things, to vent their anger against the elites.
“So, the elites in Nigeria are endangered, including me, all of us. So, the sooner we start talking to the elites in employer organisations, like yours, the better, so that we can cure this malady and prevent it from escalating,” he said.
Ngige lauded the initiative by IPMAN leadership and urged other sub-groups in the informal sector, particularly the proprietors of private schools, to emulate the association in formalising their labour relations and ensure that they comply with the minimum wage requirement.
Okoronkwo said the visit was informed by IPMAN’s understanding that Ngige and his ministry were central to realising the association’s plan to enrol its over 2 million members into the MPP of the Federal Government.
“In trying to see how we can add value to the welfare of our workers, we discovered the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) of the Federal Government. We deemed it necessary that IPMAN must key into this programme, having got the approval of the National Executive Council (INEC) of our association,” he said.