Speaker of the house of representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, has said that advocated for salary review for workers in a bid to discourage stealing and corrupt practices at the workplace.
Abbas said review of workers’ pay at intervals will persuade them to be “honest and transparent” in their dealings.
A statement signed by Abbas’ special adviser on media and publicity, Musa Abdullahi, said the speaker disclosed this on Sunday at an event organised in his honour by the Nigerian high commission in London.
According to Abbas, the salary of workers needs to be reviewed to reflect the prevalent economic reality in the country.
He said: “An average worker earns less than what somebody can use to buy fuel to fill his car tank. (Do) you still want that man to be honest and transparent?
“We need to also intensify the war against corruption. No society in this world can ever thrive and be what it wants to be if corruption is the order of the day. But I agree that for you to fight corruption, there are some things you need to do.
“Let’s take the example of the UK experiment or the Western world. Fundamentally, what they did was to sit down and say let’s look at what an average worker would need to be paid as salary. Come up with a living wage that will take care of the basics of a person such that he won’t be looking outside his lawful income.
“Today, if you’re a labourer in London, you will be paid enough for you to go and pay your rent, take care of your basics and still be able to have a fairly good living. With that kind of incentive, you don’t need to go and borrow, beg and steal.
“For us to wage a war on corruption, we need to create an enabling environment where each and every one of us will be able to operate transparently without having to steal, intimidate, beg or borrow. That is the beginning of the reform.
“If we can get the rule of law working, we will be able to work on the reforms necessary for fighting corruption. In fighting corruption, we also need to create an enabling environment where an average worker should be able to earn enough to live with his family.”
Abbas said Nigeria’s war against corruption must also be strengthened for meaningful progress to be recorded.
He said the nation’s laws must be implemented in such a way that both the “big and the small” are treated the same way to give everyone a sense of justice and fairness.
He added, “In Nigeria, some people do whatever they like. You can commit any crime and go scot-free depending on the size of your pocket or the people you know. That has to go.
“Unless we are able to strengthen our rule of law to make it in such a way that it affects both the big and the small, and it doesn’t look at the face of whoever is committing an offence, we will never go anywhere.”
Sarafa Isola, Nigerian high commissioner to the UK, in his speech said the event was put together to honour Abbas who secured an “unprecedented” victory in the speakership election.
Isola said, “We are proud of his achievements in the past, and we wish him an impactful tenure.”
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