Health Workers Protest FG’s Withholding of April-May 2018 Salaries

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Health Workers Protest FG’s Withholding of April-May 2018 Salaries

…Alleges victimization through “No Work, No Pay” Policy

OBIORA IFOH, Abuja

The Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) has accused the federal government of victimizing some of its members despite their support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption policy.

Citing the case of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri in Imo state, National President of the Union, Biobelemoye Josiah claims the government was victimizing them with the implementation of “no work, no pay” policy because the union blew the whistle, alleging fraud on the part of the Chief Medical Director, Dr Angela Uwakwem.

Both parties have been at loggerheads over the reinstatement of Uwakwem by the federal government, a development that culminated in withholding the April-May, 2018 salaries of the workers, particularly those who embarked on strike to protest her recall.

Josiah poured out their grievances on Wednesday, when the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris paid an inspection visit to the headquarters of the union in Abuja, in his quest to find out how they utilize their annual check-up dues deducted from members.

He cautioned that they may be compelled to resume their industrial action, if the government continues being biased against the union.

The MHWUN President also alleged that there were discreet moves by the government to privatize public health institutions in the country, saying they would mobilise their members to resist it at all cost.

His words, “some of our members are being victimized for protesting against the re-instatement of the CMD of FMC Owerri, because we blew the whistle to expose all her atrocities, I don’t see where we have gone wrong because the President has been an advocate for anti-corruption and we have simply keyed in by exposing one at FMC, Owerri.

“It will be most unfair when some of our members’ salaries are being withheld unjustly, while in this same country, we know unions which had gone on strike and all their salaries were paid.

“We are also opposed to moves to privatize public health institutions because we know privatization is not the solution, rather elimination of corruption from the system. We have indices of how public health institutions run abroad, but in Nigeria over 78percent of health institutions are privately owned yet we still brandish poor health statistics”.

Earlier, the Accountant General, Idris said his visit to the corporate headquarters of the union was quite revealing, as he never thought unions are prudent with their funds.

He promised to pull the necessary strings to see that the withheld salaries are paid within the limit of available resources.

“I must commend the past and present leadership of the union for bringing about development, I never thought unions can go this far, from our perspective as finance and treasury managers, I must say the dues are well managed, consideration of welfares for members is given prominence, I must say that am convinced that your union is bent on fighting corruption, just as the government is doing, it is not just about bringing policies but making them accepted by the people,” the AGF stated.

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