The Enugu State Government on Monday described a report in a national daily claiming that it was yet to implement the national minimum wage law as “false, mischievous and downright unprofessional on the part of the reporter.”
A statement signed by the state Commissioner of Information, Chuks Ugwoke, said the story was apparently a deliberate effort by the reporter to embarrass the state government as it is a widely known fact that Enugu State was one of the first states in the country to implement the law.
He noted that the state government had not only started implementing the minimum wage as far back as 2011 but added N1,000 to make the total sum N19,000 and also effected a slight increase in the salaries of the cadres of workers not covered by the law.
“It is really surprising that a reporter residing in Enugu would not know or deliberately chose to ignore the fact that the N18,000 minimum wage law has been implemented in Enugu since 2011.
“I think the report was deliberate and unprofessional because even if the reporter was in doubt, all he needed to do was to inquire and he would have discovered that no worker in Enugu takes home less than N18,000 per month as prescribed by the law. He would have found out this had been the position since 2011.”
Ugwoke recalled that during a visit to the state in August last year, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Abdulwaheed Ibrahim Omar, had praised the state government for its attentiveness to the welfare of workers including the early implementation of the minimum wage.
The commissioner stated the NLC president had also acknowledged that initial differences between the parties upon the commencement of the payment of the minimum wage in Enugu State had stemmed from a misinterpretation of the law by workers.
He further emphasised the need for journalists to always cross-check their facts before filing their reports to avoid misinforming the public and embarrassing their organisations.