Health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions, Akwa Ibom State chapter on Thursday described threats by the State government to sack striking health professionals in the state as empty and without substance.
The state Government had on Wednesday ordered the health workers who had embarked on an indefinite strike to return to their duty posts or risked been sacked.
The government in a statement by the Information commissioner, Mr Charles Udoh, described the health workers’ demands as ill-conceived and politically motivated.
According to the statement Udoh said it was ‘unreasonable’ for JOHESU to demand for payment of 50% of basic salaries as hazard allowance in the prevailing harsh economic climate.
JOHESU officials had cited their demand for 50% of their basic salary as hazard allowance, non implementation of the agreed 80% of National consolidated Health Salaries Structure and reinstatement of over 723 sacked local government staffs, majority of which were health workers among others as reasons for embarking on the strike.
The Unions also claimed that health workers in the state are the least paid in the Niger Delta States.
In a statement jointly signed by the chairman of the state chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Comrade Patrick Odu, the chairman of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Godwin Archibong and the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals, Aniebiet Abasi Obot, they called on members to ignore such threats and stay at home until the State government accede to their demands.
The Unions lamented that Akwa Ibom was the only State in Nigeria that has yet to implement CONHESS to health workers adding that they have communicated all the agencies both within and outside the State
“JOHESU views the press release of the commissioner for Information calling our members to resume duty as empty threat and without substance.
“We also viewed the Information Commissioner press release as a deliberate act of provocation by alleging that JOHESU was sponsored by political detractors with underlying intent to vandalize health care facilities in the State.
“The unions therefore wish to ask Information Commissioners, was it the political detractors that asked government not to implement Consolidated Health Structure (CONHESS) for health workers since 2009 till date.
“Secondly, why did the State government set up a committee by the Chief of Staff to resolve the health workers’ legal demands?
“It is quite unfortunate that Information Commissioner who ought to be the image maker of the government can blatantly lie to the public that same government he claimed to represent is constrained to state that, it is unreasonable and unlawful for health care professionals to embark on any form of strike during the period of corona virus pandemic even when the welfare of the same health workers are not being taken care of”