The senator representing Edo North senatorial district, Adams Oshiomhole, on Sunday, described the N30,000 monthly minimum wage as a “criminal wage”, saying his cleaner gets paid no less than N60,000.
“What we call minimum wage is a criminal wage,” Oshiomhole said during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
“If you exchange N30,000 at N800 or N700 to the dollar, what does that translate to? So, the value of that minimum wage when it was N125 – when it was first introduced under, I think, (Shehu) Shagari’s government – is about two times or three times the value many years later, even in the public service.”
According to him, the average responsible private-sector employer is a better employer than the Federal Government or state government.
The former governor of Edo State went on to reveal how much his cleaner earns.
“I can tell you what I have decided to pay my cleaner. My cleaner is just a primary school – I’m not sure she has even a school leaving certificate. But she’s knowledgeable enough to clean the house,” he said.
“I found myself unable to pay her less than N60,000 – in fact, N60,000. It’s about my conscience. I’m trying to imagine what she has to pay for a house. She told me she has four children.
“I’m trying to imagine how she has to look after those children and I cannot question why she should have four children.”
Oshiomhole argued that, given his background and what he knows about the cost of living, he could pay her any less “in a clean conscience”.
The 71-year-old lawmaker explained that “if I have chosen to employ a cleaner and chosen not to clean the house by myself, that is the least I thought I could pay” her.
The pay, according to him, will not necessarily “deliver a comfortable living standard, but what you call irreducible minimum for her to survive”.
“If I do that to my cleaner, I have to do a little more to my driver because he requires some training and sometimes, even retraining, and my security is in his hands,” he added.