2023 Workers’ Day: FG condemns doctors’ ‘entitlement mentality’



  • Says no apology for actions taken on trade disputes
Uba Group


  • Lecturers, others to benefit from 40% pay rise


  • Tinubu promises workers ‘more than a minimum wage’



Lecturers, doctors and other categories of civil servants under the Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure, Consolidated Medical Salary Scale, popularly known as CONMESS, CONHESS, CONTISS salary scales, will benefit from an undisclosed percentage of pay rise, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige, revealed on Monday.

Speaking during the commemoration of the 2023 International Workers’ Day celebration at the Eagle Square, Abuja, Ngige noted that the workers would also be paid arrears of the increase from January 2023.

He said this just as he described the demands of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors in an ultimatum issued to the Federal Government as absurd, adding that their sense of entitlement was “too much.”

Addressing the public during the event, Ngige noted that the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission was working towards the finalisation of the increase.

He said, “It will also be recalled that since the emergence of the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure on the 1st of January, 2007, it has not been reviewed by any of the past administrations, but for the consequential minimum wage adjustment of 2019 for all wage structures under this government in 2019.

“However, in line with the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerian workers, the Federal Government recently worked out the introduction of a 40% Peculiar Allowance into the remuneration and emoluments of core Federal Civil Servants and other public servants on the CONPSS to help cushion the effects of inflation and other costs of doing their works as they are not on any special allowances.

“This demonstrates the government leadership’s commitment to improving workers’ welfare and conditions of service even without any industrial action, but fallout of social dialogue.

“However, other workers in the other different wage structures like CONHESS, CONMESS CONUAS, and CONTISS that started their Collective Bargaining with their Employer even with industrial action are winding up their CBAs for the National Salaries Incomes and Wages to transmit same for final treatment as provisions were made in the 2023 Appropriations for them with effect from 1st January 2023.”

Ngige also claimed that a total of 1.6 million poor households benefit from a bi-monthly payment of N10, 000 each as part of the regime’s plan to mitigate suffering among the citizens.

He said, “In 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari launched the National Social Investment Programme, currently the largest of such programmes in Africa and one of the largest in the world. The National Social Register of Poor and Vulnerable Nigerians (NSR) now has 32.6 million persons from more than 7 million poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 Local Government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities across the 36 states of the country and the FCT.

“From this number, 1.6 million poor and vulnerable households (comprising more than eight million individuals in 45,744 communities from 5,483 Wards of 557 LGAs in 35 states and the FCT are currently benefiting from the Conditional Cash Transfer programme, which pays a bimonthly stipend of N10,000 per household.”

Ngige also noted the regime’s efforts towards the improvement of the living conditions of Nigerians.

“Not forgetting the Housing Sector, the Family Homes Fund Limited incorporated by the Federal Government of Nigeria in September 2016, is the implementing agency for the Buhari Administration’s National Social Housing scheme.


“More than two thousand (2,000) hectares of land with titled documents have been given by 24 states under the Buhari administration’s Social Housing programme, which can accommodate about 65,000 new homes.

“Under the National Social Housing programme, Nigerians will be given at least 15 years with a monthly payment at a six per cent interest rate to pay for each housing unit. The Central Bank of Nigeria provides a N200 billion financing facility, guaranteed by the FGN. States like Enugu, Nassarawa, Delta, Kano have benefitted their workers from the scheme,” he noted.

Resident doctors’ demands absurd, says Ngige

Ngige had earlier described the demands of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors in an ultimatum issued to the Federal Government as absurd.

Ngige said the government had given the doctors everything they wanted, adding that their sense of entitlement was “too much.”

NARD had on Saturday given the Federal Government two weeks to meet its demands or face industrial disharmony.

The doctors are demanding an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of the current gross salaries of doctors.

The doctors also want the immediate withdrawal and jettisoning of the bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to render five-year compulsory services in Nigeria before being granted full licences to practise.

They also want the immediate implementation of CONMESS, domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act and review of hazard allowance by all the state governments as well as private tertiary health institutions where any form of residency training is done; among others.

Speaking earlier on a television programme on Monday, Ngige said the doctors’ demands were absurd, noting that they had the option of leaving the country.

He said employers were entitled to keep employees’ salaries if they go on strike.

“If the NARD who we have been managing their matter, we are giving them everything they want, including their Medical Resident Training Fund, we are paying them, even when in training, pay them a full salary, pay them all the allowances and you decide that we have not done enough. Like I said before, you have an option to go. It is left for the education ministry and the health ministry to fashion out what they can do.

“You asked that a bill by one of the members of the House of Representatives be removed and that is one of the reasons you want to go on strike. How can the government tell a member who has done a private member’s bill… It is not even an executive bill, you now release it as one of the conditions of going on strike, that is absurd.

“The entitlements syndrome, the sense of entitlement is too much in this country and like I said earlier, you obey the law you look odd, you apply the law, you look odd or you are a wicked man. I don’t have any apologies for whatever I have done in the management of trade disputes,” Ngige said.

Tinubu promises workers ‘more than a minimum wage’

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s President-elect, Bola Tinubu, on Monday, promised to join forces with Nigerian workers to ensure better welfare and working conditions, vowing that “workers will have more than a minimum wage.”

He also urged support for his soon-to-begin administration in fighting poverty, ignorance, disease, disunity, ethnic and religious hate, which he described as “common” enemies.

“Your fight will be my fight because I will always fight for you,” Tinubu said in a statement he signed on Monday to mark Workers’ Day.

In the statement titled, ‘President-elect’s solidarity message to Nigerian Workers on International Workers Day’, Tinubu said his Renewed-Hope Agenda for a better Nigeria was a covenant he was prepared to keep.

The president-elect said, “On this special day, as your president-elect, I extend my hands of friendship to the Nigerian workers through the two central Labour unions — (the) Nigeria Labour Congress and (the) Trade Union Congress.

“In me, you will find a dependable ally and co-labourer in the fight for social and economic justice for all Nigerians, including all the working people.

“Your fight will be my fight because I will always fight for you. My plans for better welfare and working conditions are clearly spelt out in my Renewed Hope Agenda for a Better Nigeria. It is a covenant born of conviction and one I am prepared to keep.”

Tinubu noted that the Federal Government and Nigerian workers face a common battle against “poverty, ignorance, disease, disunity, ethnic and religious hate and all negative forces that contend against the stability and prosperity of our country.” A fight, he said, must be won together.

However, the former Lagos State governor revealed that the ensuing weeks after his inauguration would require doggedness as the public service reforms he hopes to implement would require tough decisions.

“In Nigeria, I shall have the honour and privilege to lead from May 29, workers will have more than a minimum wage. You will have a living wage to have a decent life and provide for your family.

“The days ahead will, however, demand better understanding and cooperation from all sides, because leadership will require that we take tough and hard decisions so that our people and all Nigerian workers can live more abundantly,” Tinubu revealed.

Labour begs in-coming Katsina government to improve security

Also, the organised labour in Katsina State, on Monday, raised the alarm that nobody was safe in the state again.

It consequently challenged the incoming government in the state to accord security top priority and ensure the safety of residents’ lives and property.

The organised labour said this in Katsina in its welcome address at the celebration of the 2023 Workers’ Day, also known as May Day celebration.

The address was delivered by the chairman of the state chapter of Trade Union Congress, Muntari Ruma.

He said, “The issue of insecurity is another matter of serious concern. Except politicians who are heavily guarded, no one is safe anymore. Whether you are at home or you are at your workplace, the market, worship centre or even walking on the streets.

“Kidnappers in the northwestern part of the country continue to render women and children widows, fatherless and homeless. Many people have been displaced. It is safe to say that (these are) the challenges the new administration will inherit.”

The organised labour observed that though the state government along with security operatives were doing their best to curb the insecurity, more still needed to be done to ensure safety of people.

“We urge the incoming administration to take the issue of insecurity with all the seriousness it requires as widely manifested in their campaign to end the menace,” he said.

Governor Aminu Masari, who was represented at the occasion by his Special Adviser on Labour Matters, Tanimu Saulawa, in his remarks, maintained that workers in the state contributed a lot to the success of his administration.

He lauded the workers for their patriotism and urged them to extend the same hands of cooperation to the in-coming government.

Help is here at last, Otti tells Abia workers

The Abia State Governor-elect, Dr Alex Otti has also felicitated with members of the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress on the occasion of the 2023 Workers’ Day celebration.

Otti, in a statement he signed, assured the workers that their sad experience of being owed salary arrears would be a thing of the past under his watch as governor, come May 29, 2023.

He commended the workers in the State and Local Government civil services, for ensuring that the wheels of the public service continued to spin despite being owed many months of salary arrears.

The Governor-elect, who addressed the civil and public servants in the state as “Fellow Abia workers,” pointed out that he did so because Abia electorates had hired him to be part of her workers through their votes on March 18, 2023.

The statement read, “I bring you special greetings on this auspicious occasion of the 2023 Workers’ Day Celebration, otherwise known as May Day, with the theme: ‘Workers’ Right and Socio-Economic Justice’.

“I consciously chose to address you as ‘fellow workers’ because, on Saturday, March 18, 2023, you joined thousands of passionate, enthusiastic and patriotic Abia voters to hire me as your employee. That noble and humbling decision has placed an additional burden of service on my shoulders.

“On behalf of the good people of Abia State, I wish to sincerely congratulate the organised Labour led by the Nigerian Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, and other such bodies on this year’s celebration.

“I particularly salute our workers in the state and local government civil services, who, despite being owed many months of salary arrears, have ensured that the wheels of public service continue to spin.

“I’m aware as usual, that most of you will be celebrating this year’s May Day on empty stomachs as a result of non-payment of salaries. Be assured that such a sad experience will become a thing of the past going forward. I commend your resilience, long-suffering and uncommon dedication to duty in the service of our dear State.

“A year ago, I did the usual ritual of felicitation to you all, and I did reassure you that sooner than later, the ruinous era of gloom and sobriety would give way for a new dawn of blessings and abundance. Today, by the mercy of the Almighty God, our prayer, battle cry and admonition, ‘Weep No More, Help is on the Way’, has been answered and we can assuredly declare, help is here!”

He added that his administration would move speedily, vigorously and decisively in the task of rebuilding the state at all levels.