Nigeria Running an “economic apartheid” Society: Catholic Priest Faults Leaders on Proposed Minimum Wage

Fr. George Ehusani , Executive director Lux Terra leadership foundation Abuja Nigeria

As the debate over the new minimum wage in Nigeria continues to generate reactions across the country, a Catholic Priest in the West African nation has warned of an “imminent revolt” should Nigerian leaders continue oppressing the poor in what he has termed “economic apartheid”.

The Nigerian government has offered to double the minimum wage to 62,000 naira ($41.89) a month against labor demands of 250,000 naira.

The wage bill has been highly contested, with many saying that it plunges the poor into deeper misery as the country grapples with the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades.

In his homily on Sunday, June 9, Fr. George Ehusani said, “More than 60 years after independence, we are still running an apartheid society. This time it's not racial apartheid, it's economic apartheid.”

Fr. Ehusani explained, “We are running an apartheid society of people of conspicuous consumption, flying in private jets around at government expense, people who are riding four, five, six, seven SUVs with pilot vehicles chasing the poor out of the road, and the same people are debating and discussing what the poor should earn.”


The Executive Director and Lead Faculty of the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation that deals with leadership training likened Africa’s most populous nation to the “Animal Farm”, the satirical allegorical novel in which the author, George Orwell, recounts a fable story of a group of anthropomorphic farm animals that rebel against their human farmer in the hope of creating a society where the animals can be equal, free, and happy.

“Nigerian society is like the animal farm, a society where we have conspicuously rich people, people who are living in conspicuous consumption and others who are in deplorable, dehumanizing poverty,” the Nigerian Catholic Priest lamented.

He went on to decry the huge economic gap in the West African country, with some earning over 1 million Nigerian naira a month (US$665.00) while others earn just about 60,000 Nigerian naira (US$40,00).

The founder of the Psycho-Spiritual Institute (PSI), a Catholic entity that specializes in psycho-trauma healing, said he found it unfair that someone who earns over 1 million Nigerian naira “can open his mouth to be part of a discussion about the poor getting 60,000 naira.”

“I say anyone who earns up to 1 million naira in the month should keep his or her mouth shut when he hears them debating about the poor taking 60,000 (naira) for a month!” Fr. Ehusani, a member of the Clergy of Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Lokoja said. 

More in Africa

He further raised concern over the economic challenges the poor people face in the country and the big salaries paid to members of the parliament, describing the contrast as “crime against humanity”.

About Nigeria’s few elite, Fr. Ehusani posed, “How can they go to sleep in good conscience every day? How can they go to sleep in good conscience and come out to sit down in a boardroom to discuss paying 60,000 naira to the poorest of workers?”

The Abuja-based Catholic Priest further lamented, “How wicked! You give 60,000 naira to a poor worker who may have a family of two or three or four, for his feeding, for his accommodation, for his house rent, for his medical care, for his children's school fees.”

“How wicked! How blind! How can we do that? And we think that God will bless our country?” he further decried.

Fr. Ehusani went on to echo other Catholic Church leaders criticizing Nigeria’s shift to the old national anthem used during the country’s independence, questioning, “We think that it is by bringing a new national anthem that God will bless our country? How can you commit this crime against humanity?”


“For me, this is a crime against humanity, because there are poor people who cannot afford to buy garri (Nigeria’s staple food) … People are dying because they have no money to cure malaria,” he said on June 9.

Fr. Ehusani warned, “I say we are committing a crime against humanity, and if we do not repent and retrace our steps immediately, the revenge of the poor is at the corner.”

Abah Anthony John contributed to the writing of this story

ACI Africa was founded in 2019. We provide free, up-to-the-minute news affecting the Catholic Church in Africa, giving particular emphasis to the words of the Holy Father and happenings of the Holy See, to any person with access to the internet. ACI Africa is proud to offer free access to its news items to Catholic dioceses, parishes, and websites, in order to increase awareness of the activities of the universal Church and to foster a sense of Catholic thought and culture in the life of every Catholic.