The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has frowned at the disparity in payments of foreign and local workers in parts of the country.
He criticised states in Nigeria that employed and paid foreigners five times higher than their Nigerian counterparts.
Ngige said this when he received the Chairman, Federal Character Commission (FCC), Dr Muheeba Dankaka, and other Federal Commissioners; during a courtesy visit on Thursday, September 23, in Abuja.
He regretted that such preferential treatment given to foreigners; by some states ahead of their Nigerian counterparts does not encourage national unity and loyalty.
He therefore urged the FCC to use its constitutional mandate to promote national unity and loyalty; rather than concentrate their efforts only on the public sector, especially in job recruitment.
Ngige appealed to the commission to ensure equitable distribution of amenities; infrastructure and social services in the country.
According to the minister, the constitution did not say that you do only cases in the public sector.
“There are areas we need you to look into; especially where the constitution is silent.
“We have cases where doctors are employed from Egypt, Cuba and Pakistan and they are paid five times what the Nigerian doctor will get if you convert the foreign exchange they use to pay them.
“But in this country, I was here when some of my teachers left from South East to go and teach in the North East at a time.
“They left because we had enough down there to export to our brothers.
”They were paid with our local currency and given some other incentives; which at the end of the day make the economy of those states to be alright.
“Whether you like it or not, if some people are poor in Nigeria in the poverty index rating; when the Nigerian poverty index is being taken, it will be an aggregate, including those places.
”If it is health, when the health parameters are being taken, it is for the whole. So, FCC can go into that area,” he said.
The minister therefore urged the FCC to persuade the affected state governments to open up and advertise those jobs, so that Nigerians can come whether from South-East, South South or North Central to come and fill the gap.
Ngige also advised the commission to be revolutionary and do new things, using its broad mandate, established by Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).