?Says Minister has turned Ministry into Ministry of Medical Doctors alone

Abuja

Health workers in Nigeria under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU)  and Assembly of Health Care Professionals Associations/Union are on the streets of Abuja this hour. They are protesting what they described as injustice meted to their members and are therefore demanding the immediate sack of the Minister for Health Onyebuchi Chukwu.

The protesting professionals told Daily Times at the Ministry of Health wing of the Federal Secretariat that they want Onyebuchi sacked for lack of competence on his side. They also accused Onyebuchi of high handedness, insensitivity and gross disrespect for collectively bargained agreement.

Dr. Godswill C. Okara PhD, National President of Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria who spoke to us said the Minister of Health operates as if Nigeria is a lawless country.

?The Ministry of Health is a Ministry that involves a multiplicity of professions and health workers. Therefore whatever you do in the Ministry should have this concept at the back of ones mind and ensure that team spirit, team play is recognised and promoted. What we have seen in the health sector in the past two years is that the Ministry has been converted to Ministry of Medical Doctors. The Hon. Minister is promoting the parochial interest of his own group and constituency to the detriment of all other professions and professional groups.

?To the extent that collectively bargained agreement that was signed in 2009 when he was not in the Ministry under the late President Yar?Adua, he came and sat in his office, issued circulars to reverse a the collectively bargained agreement. ?Nigeria is a signatory to the ILO Convention that specifically stipulates that before you alter anything in a collectively bargained agreement all the parties to the agreement must be consulted and involved,? Okara said.

A 5- point demand by the workers are to ensure quality health services; the removal of the Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu; implementation of aspects of the collectively bargained agreement; a reconstruction of the Federal Ministry of Heath and other health institutions in the country for fair and equitable dealing with stakeholders as well as passage of the national health bill.

The professionals who carried several placards with most calling for the Minister?s removal chanted labour songs as the march through the streets. No official of the Ministry came out to address the aggrieved workers as they reeled out their demands with scores of Police officers and men on hand to ensure peace.

The Unions and Associations that are participating in the protest march are the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN); National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM); National Union of Pharmacists, Medical Technologists and Professional Allied Medicine; Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associate Institute.

Enakeno Oju

Enakeno is a journalist and television producer

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