‘₦65,000 Can’t Afford Anything’ – Niger Delta Group Urges FG To Increase Ex-Militants’ Stipends Amid Minimum Wage Talks

The leadership of the Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND) has called for an upward review of monthly stipends for ex-freedom fighters from the Niger Delta region. This call was made on Wednesday amidst ongoing negotiations with organized labor for a new minimum wage for workers.

Plateau News recalls that organized labor announced on Tuesday the temporary suspension of its nationwide indefinite strike for one week, citing renewed commitment from the Federal Government.

In a press statement, the National Secretary of MOSIEND, Amb Amain Winston Cotterel, stated that the new minimum wage should encompass every sector, ensuring that no one is excluded for the betterment of all Nigerians.

He emphasized that the salary of every Nigerian worker on the Federal Government payroll must be raised to align with the current economic realities in the country to ensure peace across the board.

The MOSIEND leader stressed the urgency for an increased monthly stipend for Niger Delta ex-agitators under the Presidential Amnesty Programme, warning that failure to address this could lead to renewed violent agitations.

He highlighted the longstanding protests over the insufficient ₦65,000 stipend, stressing the need for equitable treatment in the new minimum wage negotiations to prevent further discontent and instability.

Cotterel urged the government to prioritize the ex-agitators, noting that they are integral to the economy and have contributed to maintaining peace in the region. He advocated for parity in salary adjustments with civil servants to ensure peace and economic prosperity.

The MOSIEND leader said, “The Presidential Amnesty Office can no longer operate with the sum of ₦65,000 as salary for each agitator, and if the new minimum wage is not holistic to capture everybody, it may ignite another round of violent agitations in the Niger Delta, which may definitely affect the entire country.

“Since the Federal Government and Labour are negotiating on the new minimum wage, they should ensure to fashion out a new minimum wage for the Niger Delta Ex-Agitators who have been on a monthly stipend of ₦65,000 under the Presidential Amnesty Programme since 2009.

“Already, before now, the ex-agitators have been having series of protests concerning the ₦65,000 which can no longer afford anything in the market because of the inflation, but nobody has given them attention, so I believe this is the time for the government to do the right thing so that they don’t feel neglected or intimidated.

“As ex-agitators, they are Nigerians, they are stakeholders and they are part of the economy. Whatever is affecting anybody in this country is also affecting them, and many of them cannot afford their children’s school fees or put good food on their table because of the inflation and hardship in the country.

“So the Federal Government should ensure that whatever percentage they are adding to the salary of civil servants in the country as minimum wage, the same should be added to the Amnesty beneficiaries so that we can have peace and better economy – because you don’t expect one sector to be growing while the other remains stagnant.

“They should be given priority because they are Nigerians, because they are Niger Deltans and because the funds that are going to be used to pay the new minimum wage come from the Niger Delta, and those that lay the golden eggs should benefit from it, because they have paid the price to maintain peace and stability in the region so that the entire country can survive.

“As MOSIEND, the leading youth body in the Niger Delta region, we don’t want our boys to go back to the creeks again because it will be disastrous. So, whatever the Federal Government is doing regarding this new minimum wage must be replicated to the ex-agitators – it must reflect in their allowances.”