From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule has clarified the position of governors regarding the new minimum wage for workers, emphasizing that they are not opposed to it.

Speaking to State House Correspondents on Wednesday after a meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima, Sule addressed concerns about states’ ability to implement the proposed minimum wage. He reassured that Nasarawa has been paying the N30,000 minimum wage since 2019 and has been providing additional benefits to workers.

The governor, while clarifying that he was expressing his personal opinion, said he was unaware of any state where the government was unable to pay the old minimum wage rate. He explained that Nasarawa has been paying the N30,000 minimum wage since 2019 and has also implemented promotions, gratuities, and other benefits for workers.

Governor Sule highlighted the importance of worker welfare and expressed support for the ongoing committee established by the federal government to review workers’ pay. He added that governors are awaiting the committee’s outcome before making decisions on the minimum wage issue.

“We’re concerned about the welfare of the workers. In fact, we’re paying some special allowances called hazard allowance, even to our medical workers, as I’m talking to you right now. So I don’t think governors have any problem with the payment of minimum wage. I don’t speak for the governors. Our chairman, the Governor of Kwara, actually speaks for the governors and he will do that at the right time to you,” Sule said.

“But it is incorrect, actually, to say that governors are not interested or are not cooperating. What the governors keep saying is that there is a committee established by the federal government to work on the minimum wage. We are waiting for the outcome of that committee and that committee is not just looking at the federal government, it’s looking at the state government and organized private sector. So by the time they provide, we don’t want to jump the gun and that’s why we continue to do that.”

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“You may find one or two states make certain statements, which is okay perfectly in line. Minimum is minimum, when they say minimum wage, it doesn’t mean that somebody cannot be higher than that, dependent on your own cash flow and dependent on your own position. So, I think that’s the position,” Sule added.

Regarding the security situation in Nasarawa State, the governor asserted that the state is safe for investment and agriculture. He cited the successful establishment of a lithium factory by foreign investors as evidence of the state’s security and conducive business environment.

“We now constructed a major road in the area and the federal government also constructed the major road that comes all the way from Benue into Nasarawa state, which most of the transporters from the eastern part of the country are actually using at the moment. We also established what you call military super-camp in the area so there is the presence of the military in the area. So all those kidnappers, bandits, and others have all left, we don’t have any as far as that area is concerned,” Sule said.

“Nasarawa State is always considered one of the safest states to do agriculture and other things.”

Sule also pointed out Nasarawa’s achievements in agriculture, ranking highly in sesame farming, yam, cassava, and rice production nationwide.

“Now, coming back to the agriculture that you have mentioned, since the past two to three years, Nasarawa State has been leading in so many areas of agriculture. Today, I’m happy to tell you that we are number one in sesame farming in the whole federation, nobody does more than that. We’re number two in yam production throughout the country. We are number two in cassava throughout the country and we are number five in rice production. So if people are not going to farms, we’ll not be achieving these kinds of numbers. These are the realities on the ground, these are things that you can go and find out on your own. So as far as we are concerned, we’re not saying that there are no kidnappings in Nasarawa, from time to time you’ll find it here and there, but in Nasarawa State there is also oil drilling going on, with the oil drilling I don’t think any of you has ever heard anything about kidnapping and things like that taking place,” he said.

In a meeting with Shettima, Sule discussed the upcoming commissioning of the lithium factory in the state, expressing optimism that President Bola Tinubu will be present at the event.