May 23, 2024

Labour unions in Nigeria are pressuring authorities to raise minimum wages as inflation and economic turmoil put pressure on the cost of living. Recent social media posts claimed that the country’s commercial capital Lagos state upped its minimum wage for government workers. But the claim is misleading; the state only instituted a temporary extra “wage” in January for all civil servants. A spokesperson for the state government said negotiations were ongoing for an improved minimum salary.

“Governor Sanwo-Olu has increase the minimum wage from 35,000 Naira to 70,000 Naira (sic),” reads a post shared on X on April 25, 2024.

<img class="caas-img caas-lazy has-preview" alt="A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 28, 2024 ” data-src=”https://thenewswave.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/posts-misleadingly-claimed-nigerias-lagos-state-increased-monthly-minimum-wage.jpg”><img alt="A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 28, 2024 ” src=”https://thenewswave.xyz/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/posts-misleadingly-claimed-nigerias-lagos-state-increased-monthly-minimum-wage.jpg” class=”caas-img”>

A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on April 28, 2024

Shared more than 640 times, the post features 51 seconds of footage of Lagos state governor Babajie Sanwo-Olu speaking at a public event in southwest Nigeria.

Several accounts on X (including here and here) and Facebook (here and here) shared the same footage and claim.

Well-known news outlets also published misleading reports about the claim (here and here).

Nigeria’s cost-of-living crisis

The cost of living in Africa’s largest democracy spiked after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu ended a costly fuel subsidy immediately after he was inaugurated in May 2023 (archived here). Tinubu also liberalised foreign exchange controls soon after.

Officials said the reforms were painful but necessary to help revive Africa’s largest economy.

Labour unions faulted the timing of the policies and demanded an increment in the minimum wage, which stood at 30,000 naira (about $22.22) a month.

After several rounds of talks in October 2023 with the unions, the national government announced a stop-gap package to cushion the effects of the rising cost of living.

The package included a special allowance for federal employees only equal to 35,000 naira a month, for a period of six months (archived here), beginning in January 2024.

The agreement also encouraged similar benefits to be awarded to state and local government employees and private-sector workers (archived here).

However, the claim that Lagos has increased the minimum wage to 70,000 naira is misleading.

Ongoing negotiations

Lagos authorities initially approved a 20 percent increase in the minimum wage in March 2023 (archived here), meaning the salary of the least-paid workers in the state’s civil service increased to at least 35,000. The increase was backdated to January of that year.

The state government then announced in December 2023 that it would pay a temporary “palliative allowance” to “all civil servants in the State” (archived here) as Nigeria battled a cost of living crisis.

The salary of the lowest-paid workers then jumped to at least 70,000 naira per month.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said at 41 seconds into the video that the state started paying the “wage allowance” in January.

The video was taken at the launch of EKO Cares, a government intervention programme designed to ease the cost of living (archived here).

However, at the beginning of the clip in the claim, Sanwo-Olu clarified that a new minimum wage was yet to be approved.

“Very soon, we will see a new minimum wage that would be approved for the federal government and the state government,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Lagos commissioner for information Gbenga Omotoso said in a statement on April 26 that the state “has not increased the minimum wage, contrary to the impression in some media reports” (archived here).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *