*seeks intervention of statesmen, others
*wants Keyamo to lead negotiations
Without the expected response from the Federal Government in terms of meeting their demands, health workers under the auspices of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) said they will embark on a nationwide strike by the midnight of Sunday, September 13. This is when JOHESU’s 15-day ultimatum to Federal Government to meet its demand, is due to expire.
Similarly, the group said states and local government (LG) health institutions are to be placed on red alert for possible entry into the strike if the Federal Government (FG) foot-drags in attending to the demands of JOHESU.
The National Chairman of JOHESU, Comrade Bio Joy Josiah who made these known, said it has become imperative to inform Nigerians that if the Federal Government doesn’t meet its demands by the mid-night of September 13, 2020, all members of JOHESU will commence the strike in all Federal Health Institutions (FHIs).
The group however sought urgent pro-active measures geared towards avoiding a disruption of services in the health sector, by statesmen, traditional rulers, religious bodies and other men of goodwill within the lifespan of pending 15-day ultimatum it issued to the Federal Government in the ultimate national interest.
In addition, JOHESU urged the Federal Government to authorise the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Barr. Festus Keyamu to lead the negotiations between the Federal Government and the union, so as to take over from Dr. Chris Ngige, the minister of Labour and Productivity.
Addressing a press conference at the headquarters of the Medical and Health Workers Union (MHWUN) in Abuja on Monday, the national chairman of JOHESU said Keyamo leading the negotiations would guarantee fairness to all parties concerned.
The group accused Ngige who is a medical doctor, of being partisan based on his alleged loyalty to his colleagues in the medical profession.
Highlighting some of the demands of JOHESU, Bio said, “The Federal Government must come-up with COVID-19 palliatives to the citizenry while improving service delivery and remedial measures to combat failing and decaying infrastructural facilities.
“Immediate payment of the shortfall in the COVID-19 allowances of non-clinical staff in the FHIs presently pegged at 10 per cent to the appropriate 50 per cent of basic salaries paid to all clinical staff in the FHIs.
“Unconditional payment of all withheld salaries at Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and the complements of April and May, 2018 salaries which were vindictively authorised by the administration of Prof. Isaac Adewole, former minister of health at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).”
He said, “The FG is strongly admonished to authorise the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Barr. Festus Keyamu, SAN to lead the FG team that will redress the clamour for the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) as was done with the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) to guarantee fairness and justice to all parties concerned like it was when the Late Barr. James Ocholi, SAN was saddled with the same responsibility in 2016, since it has become too obvious that Dr. Ngige has not been able to live up to the status of an ideal arbiter because of his background as a medical doctor who has vested interest to align with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) position because he remains a committed member of the professional body.
“The Presidency must insist in tandem with the rule of law that the FMoH must adhere and obey all the dictates of the consent judgement of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) as delivered on March 19, 2019.
Bio said, “If the FG does not meet these demands by mid-night of September 13, 2020, the JOHESU will have no other choice than to commence a nationwide strike of our members in all the FHIs.
“The States and LG health institutions are placed on red alert for possible entry into the fray if the FG foot-drags in attending to our demands.”
Bio said, “JOHESU continues to critically evaluate the insecurity of lives and property in Nigeria. This unfortunate development is apparently escalated by poor budgets in relative terms that has been dedicated to fighting insurgency at this critical juncture in nationhood.
“A budget of less than one per cent of the GDP like we are spending to fight terrorism in the present discourse is grossly inadequate. A concise effort to reduce the waste and mismanagement of security votes are subjected to will certainly help.”
While criticising the anti-corruption war of the Federal Government as appearing to be too haphazard to be impactful, the group urged the government to ensure all corruption related investigations and litigations are accelerated and completed.
JOHESU similarly condemned the deregulation of fuel prices by the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and described it as being out rightly insensitive to the plight of the people just as the introduction of stamp duties to be paid by tenants in properties to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) remains the climax of absurdity. “It is worrisome that when other countries are offering palliatives as well as reducing inclination towards social dysfunctions, our leaders appear to be sowing seeds of hardship and bitter pills to bring depression to the doorstep of citizens.”
JOHESU therefore called on government to expedite action to ameliorate the pains of the citizenry generally while specifically improving on gadgetry, equipment, and so on in the FHIs for optimal outcome.