By Magnus Eze (Enugu); Desmond Mgboh (Kano); Olanrewaju Lawal (Birnin Kebbi) Vivian Onyebukwa (Lagos); Oluseye Ojo (Ibadan); Timothy Olanrewaju (Maiduguri); Tony John (Port Harcourt); Laide Raheem (Abeokuta); Jude Dangwam (Jos); Sylvanus Viashima (Jalingo); Billy Graham Abel (Yola); Ighomuaye Lucky (Benin); Femi Folaranmi (Yenagoa); Wilson Okereke (Afikpo); Priscilla Ediare (Ado-Ekiti); Okey Sampson (Umuahia); Lateef Dada (Osogbo)



Five years after the Minimum Wage Act of 2019 was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, some state governments have failed to implement the agreed N30,000 even as the agreement expires this April.

The last 11 months have been traumatic for many Nigerians, particularly for low income earners as a result of astronomical increase in the cost of living. Since the withdrawal of subsidy on petrol, which directly affected production and cost of goods and services, the rise in exchange rate, as well as the recent upward review of electricity tariff, there has been renewed agitation for an upward review of the minimum wage, which the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has now pegged at N615, 000.

As the countdown to the 2024 Workers’ Day; and the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu on May 29 begin, workers are expecting that the federal government will accede to their demand. But workers in the private sector are the worst hit by the economic crunch as their employers often set aside what organized labour agreed with the government as minimum wage.

The affected categories of workers include teachers in private schools, staff in hotels and hospitals, as well as workers in pharmacies and eateries, among others.

To illustrate the impact of the current economic realities, Saturday Sun takes a panoramic view of what low income workers in the private sector earn across the states.


What private primary and secondary school teachers earn in Lagos differ, depending on academic qualification, location and standard of the school.

In parts of Lagos Mainland, their monthly pay ranges from N15, 000 to N70,000. One of the graduate teachers lamented that even though her salary is N15,000, it does not come regularly as at when due. “The proprietress gives me N5,000 at the end of the month with a promise to balance up later. Sometimes, in the midst of confusion, she would deny owing me,” she told Saturday Sun.

The same goes for workers in small and medium-sized hotels in the state. Their salaries range from N15,000 to N100, 000 per month depending on academic qualification, location, standard of the hotel, and patronage.

Investigation revealed that most of the workers, like their counterparts in other states and sectors, depend on other sources of income to make ends meet. 


In Ibadan, Oyo State capital, Saturday Sun discovered that some small private schools recruit secondary school leavers as teachers, below the standards set by the Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN).

These young school leavers receive between N6,000 and N10,000, while management of the schools regularly increase school fees for students.

Deborah Adeniran, a student at the Distance Learning Centre of the University of Ibadan revealed that despite being a student, she decided to take up a teaching job in a private school due to the proximity to her residence. However, she earns just N6,000 per month.

In bigger private schools where a first degree is required for teaching positions, some staff members receive an average of N50,000 per month.

A survey carried out in some pharmacies, hotels, eateries, and restaurants in Ibadan revealed that some workers earn as low as N5,000 in small pharmacies and N20,000 in bigger ones.

Kayode Martins, chairman of NLC in the state, said minimum wage usually determines cash flow and purchasing power of workers. He warned proprietors of private schools, hotels, pharmacies, eateries and restaurants to desist from exploiting their workers.


Workers’ salaries in the informal sector in Kano State are not harmonized even within the same occupation.

An education consultant, Idoko Ahmed said that in most private primary and secondary schools in the state, NCE graduates get between N30,000 – N50,000 while degree holders get between N50,000 and N70, 000 monthly.

In elite private schools, graduates earn between N70,000 and N100,000 or more depending on years in service.

Kano State President, Nigeria Hotel Association, George Oshiokhamele told Saturday Sun that in the industry, the monthly wage for junior staff such as messengers and cleaners is N25,000 to N30,000, especially for small hotels with low income. Intermediate staff such as receptionists and supervisors are paid between N30,000 and N35,000 monthly while managers get N70, 000 and above.

Several respondents told Saturday Sun that many workers in Kano State no longer depend on their monthly salary for survival but on the financial opportunities that exist at their work places. Others engage in multiple lines of income to make ends meet in the face of hardship in the land.


In Kebbi State, most private sector organizations, especially private schools, do not pay up to N30,000.

A random sample in the state capital shows that most of the private schools pay their teachers, guards and other non academic staff less than N20,000 per month. However, in some schools that are considered to be elite, teachers earn between N35,000 and N50,000 depending on the qualifications of such teachers.

Rice mills are thriving businesses in Kebbi but the companies have different categories of workers. Daily, weekly and monthly workers earn N20 for each bag of rice they load/offload while contract and management staff earn between N200,000 and N300,000 per month. However, these categories of workers constitute a negligible number.

Mallam Nafiu Issa, a private school teacher said that teachers in private primary and secondary schools do not get more than N15,000 except for the schools owned by the elite especially politicians in the state where children of well to do pay between N200,000 and N350,000 per term as school fees.


The private sector in Borno State is faced with the impact of the decade-long insurgency, as well as high cost of diesel even before the removal of subsidy on petrol by the federal government.

Most private primary and secondary schools in Borno State pay between N25,000 and N40,000 to university graduates and HND holders. “This depends on the location of the schools, student population, patronage and what students pay as school fees,” said Abdul Salau, a teacher.

Likewise, medium size hotels pay about N40,000 to their workers on full employment. Others on essential services as security guards, cleaners, bar men among others earn between N25,000 and N30, 000.


Checks by Saturday Sun revealed that workers in the private sector, particularly primary schools, hotels, media houses and filling stations, lack the power to agitate for minimum wage like their counterparts in the public sector.

The argument most of the respondents in the private sector in Port Harcourt posed is that they lack job security unlike their counterparts working in the public sector.

According to them, it would be foolhardy for any worker in the private sector to join those in the public sector to clamour for minimum wage.

The peculiar thing discovered about the private sector is that they pay their workers based on the financial strength of the establishments.

It was discovered that most of the private primary and secondary schools where school fees are relatively higher, pay their staff above the N30,000 minimum wage.

Similarly, Margaret Nzima, a hotel staff in Port Harcourt, told Saturday Sun that the fear of losing her job would make her not to openly demand for or support agitation for pay rise.


Edunkayo Adeola, a university graduate who teaches mathematics in one of the private secondary schools in Abeokuta, the state capital, informed Saturday Sun that he joined the school in 2016 on a salary of N60,000 per month. This salary, which he believes to be manageable, came as a result of the fact that mathematics teachers are not easy to come by.

After much pressure and threats to resign from his appointment over time, his salary was increased to N80,000 with additional responsibilities of teaching Basic Science. He augments his earnings with other practices.

Elizabeth Okuwobi, an NCE holder who teaches in another private school in Sagamu described her salary as “paltry remuneration, and nothing to write home about.”

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She stated further that all her efforts to ensure her salary was increased to cushion the effects of the high costs of living in the country were futile as her school proprietor declared that he couldn’t increase the salary, at least for now.


The chairperson of the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools in Plateau State, Alamba Chindung Rapwong described the plight of workers in private schools in the state as pathetic.

“The basic salary is N18,000. Other allowances consist of a transport allowance of 10%. Utility allowances also 10% added to the N18,000.

“Housing allowances for staff living outside quarters is 20%. Pension allowance is 12.5% by the employer who contributed to the pension scheme.”

Nanpan Kefas, state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) explained that the proprietors solely decide what to pay any applicant.

He said: “The NUT has been pushing for teachers in private schools to come under one umbrella that can fight for their welfare but it seems not possible because each proprietor pays according to his financial strength.”


In Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, most of the top-rated private schools pay between N25,000 and N30,000. However, some of the less popular schools pay between N8,000 and N15,000, depending on the standard of the school. Top-rated hotels in the state pay N35,000 for a start. But lower class hotels pay between N10,000 and N18,000 for a start.

Other businesses such as eateries pay as low as N8,000 while most provision stores pay their staff an average of N10,000.


The Adamawa State government implemented the N30,000 minimum wage for workers in the state but private sector workers who are supposed to be in the minimum wage band still earn between N15,000 and N25,000 as monthly pay.

Sylvia Bobo, a teacher at a local primary school in Yola said: “I hold a diploma certificate but I earn N20,000 at the end of the month. It is not enough but what can you do? The federal government must do something about the private sector’s non compliance with the minimum wage because most of the private schools do not pay more than that.”


Salaries of workers in the private sector in Edo State depend on the employers’ ability to pay and what they consider adequate for their employees.

Mark Nkworji, public relations officer of Kada Cinema, Benin, disclosed that staff in Kada Cinema and Entertainment Centre, are receiving the current minimum wage paid by the state government, which is N40,000. He said plans are on to increase their pay further to meet present day economic reality.

Aiguobasinmwin Emmanuel, a management staff of a popular hotel told Saturday Sun that payment of salaries in the hotel is subject to academic qualification.

He said those working in the food and beverage section of the hotel are professionals whose salaries range from N100,000 and above. But the waiters and the waitresses earn below N40,000 and N50,000.


In Yenagoa, the state capital, most private sector organisations pay the recommended minimum wage but with some modifications depending on the establishment. In most secondary and primary schools in Yenagoa, with a high number of students, the least a teacher earns is N30,000 while management staff earn between N50,000 and N150,000 depending on the designation and qualification. Caregivers earn slightly above N20,000 depending on years of experience. But in schools with a small number of students, teachers earn between N25,000 and N30,000. However, most of the schools pay half salaries whenever the schools are on holidays. Saturday Sun gathered that this applies in other states.

For hotels within the Yenagoa metropolis with high patronage, the least workers including cleaners, housekeepers, and those in the maintenance department earn N40,000 while supervisors and other senior staff earn about N70,000. For hotels with low patronage and some guest houses, workers are paid between N20,000 and N25,000.

For security companies, supermarkets and eateries in Yenagoa, workers are paid between N20,000 and N25,000 depending on the financial strength of the establishment.

In local government areas such as Ogbia, Nembe, Brass and Sagbama, workers in that category are paid between N20,000 and N25,000.


There is no fixed minimum wage for the majority of those in the private sector in the state. What the majority of the workers earn depends on the area where the business is located, the level of patronage, academic qualifications, and experience of each staff member. A primary and secondary school operator who spoke in confidence said the majority of her colleagues pay between 15,000 to N100,000 as monthly salaries for their staff depending on the variables.

She revealed that holders of the minimum qualification for teachers in Nigeria which is NCE, earn between N15,000 and N20,000; holders of BSc or HND earn between N18,000 and N25,000; holders of BSc Education earn between N25,000 and N30,000 while holders of postgraduate certificates earn N35,000 and above.

Similarly, a manager with one of the top hospitality outfits in the state hinted that many hotels pay a minimum of N35,000 monthly in addition to a meal per day.


Like in most other parts of the country, salaries of workers in private schools, hotels and hospitals in Ebonyi are meager. Checks by Saturday Sun, shows that workers in these enterprises receive between N15,000 and N40,000 depending on their positions.

Mercy Etim, a former teacher in one of the middle class private schools said that she started with N10, 000 monthly salary in 2010 but received N27,000 as her last payment in July 2023 when she left the place.

Similarly, Benedictta Ezzama, a supervisor in one of the hotels in Abakaliki said that she earns N30,000 while other junior staff comprising receptionists, cooks and housekeepers earn N20,000 monthly. Also, senior managers in the hotel receive as monthly pay, between N50,000 and N80,000.

But in the case of Juliet Agwu, a nursery school teacher in one of the private schools, she receives N12,000 as monthly pay.

Another worker in a hotel owned by the state governor said he earns N50,000 as salary. A staff of one of the hospitals located in the state capital, Eucharia Ominyi, told our correspondent that she receives N15,000 as salary.


Findings in Ekiti also indicate that salaries of workers in private primary and secondary schools differ. Jumoke Ayodele, a teacher at one of the highbrow schools in Ado-Ekiti, said the standard of the school, student population and the fees being paid determine the minimum wage of the teachers. “In my school, the highest paid primary school teachers earn N17,000 and for teachers in the junior secondary classes, it is N25,000 while teachers in the senior classes, it is above 25,000. As a teacher in the primary classes with a B.Sc, I earn N20,000. Before I started earning N20,000, I had spent over four years working in the school. When I joined four years ago, I was earning N12,000, later, they started increasing by N1,000, N2,000. That was after I requested some increment,” said another teacher.  Akin Stephen Abimbola, secretary, Hoteliers Association, Ekiti State, said the monthly pay for a manager in one of the relatively standard hotels in the state capital is about N45,000 while waiters, room stewards and the chef collect N25,000. The accountant gets N40,000; Supervisor N35,000; and the storekeeper N30,000. Elsewhere, in the state capital, the figures for the same category of workers are slightly higher or lower depending on the variables.


In Abia State, teachers in the private sector, workers in hotels and related establishments, are relatively paid peanuts as minimum wage.

In an average private school which has primary and secondary arms, holders of West Africa School Certificate, employed as teachers are paid between N15,000 and N20,000.

For graduate teachers, investigation revealed that they receive N30,000. This however, depends on the subject the graduate teaches. Science teachers earn more than their counterparts who teach art subjects. The financial strength of the school is a major factor in determining the salary of the teachers, which in most cases do not exceed N35,000.

In the hospitality industry, hotels in the state appear to provide better packages for their workers. School certificate holders are paid N25,000 while graduates are paid N35,000 and above. Office receptionists, fuel attendants, auxiliary nurses who work in private hospitals in the state earn about N20, 000.


The state government pays N30, 000 as minimum wage but checks by Saturday Sun revealed that some private primary schools still pay between N14,000 and N25,000 to teachers, many of whom are NCE holders.

Some teachers with special assignments like headmaster/headmistress earn between N25,000 and N30,000 depending on the population or popularity of the school.

It was gathered that BSc and HND holders who are mostly recruited to private secondary schools earn between N40,000 and N70,000 based on the capacity of the school while NCE holders in secondary schools are paid between N25,000 and N35,000.

Checks on some hotels showed that HND/BSc holders earn between N20,000 and N25,000 while others like supervisors/managers earn between N35,000 and N40,000.

Similarly, office assistants earn between N15,000 and N25,000; sales representatives earn between N25,000 and N30,000 while fuel attendants earn between N15,000 to N35,000 depending on the patronage of the station.  It was also gathered that some Microfinance banks pay between N25,000 and N40,000 to their workers.