By Appolos Christian
Following a perceived negligence on the part of the Federal government to its numerous calls and warnings on issues that affects the welfare of healthcare workers, the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have issued a fresh 15-day ultimatum, calling on the Federal Ministry of Health to address the contentious issues or face a total lockdown of the country’s health sector.
Comprised 6 registered trade unions in the sector; the unions in a letter dated August 26th, 2020, addressed to the Minister of Health and copied to Secretary to the Government of the Federation, strongly expressed displeasure at what they termed ‘nonchalant and lackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government to the plight of our members’, as the reason they will stop at nothing to put the entire health sector on hold should government again fail to attend to their concerns.
“This 15 days ultimatum is necessitated by the nonchalant and Iackadaisical attitude of the Federal Government to the plight of our members, inspite of our benevolence and long notice given on these Issues.
“We note with sadness that our long-suffering is not appreciated because the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMoL&E) continues to give the impression that our members do not have the capacity to endure hunger as they are vulnerable and poor, a perception that will be put to test in the weeks ahead if the government does not heed ours.” The Unions, noted.
Jointly signed by the Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye, Comrade A. A Adeniji, President National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Comrade (Dr) B. B Akintola, President, Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Comrade (Dr) O. C Ogbonna, President, Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Comrade Hassan Makolo, National President, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), the Union said effective from midnight September 13, 2020; members of their unions would withdraw her services if the government fails to meet workers’ demands.
The letter in part said; “You will also recall sir, that at the meeting of JOHESU and your good self with the Minister of State for Health, Permanent Secretary and other top functionaries of your Ministry, held on Wednesday, 1“ July 2020, Your Ministry agreed that a mistake was made by government m the implementation of COViD-l9 Special inducement and Hazard allowance and Consequently promised that the shortfall in the payment of 50% Basic of Consolidated to all those Health Workers was a mistake on the part of Government and that the shortfall shall be paid accordingly.
‘Up till the time of this letter, the shortfall has not been paid. To make matters worse, when the payment for June 2020 was made, the Government decided to again pay 10% of Consolidated Basic to our members.
“This is in contravention of the spirit and content of the MoU signed on 21 April 2020. JOHESU is constrained to give the Federal Government 15 days ultimatum with elect from midnight Sunday, 30th August 2020, and to inform you that with effect from midnight of Sunday, 13th September 2020. All our members in the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions shall embark on a strike action while State and Local Government health institutions are placed on red alert for possible entry into the fray if the Federal Government footdrags in attending to our demands.
“The Minister Sir, you will agree with us that JOHESU has always exhibited maturity, selflessness, and patriotism even in the face of extreme provocations and government’s nonchalant attitude to the welfare of our members and we think that our maturity and selflessness have been taken for granted.”