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Don’t divert our N80bn, health workers warn ministry

Health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) Monday said they were aware of a…

Health workers under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) Monday said they were aware of a provision of N80bn set aside to take care of the salary adjustment for health workers.

They warned the Federal Ministry of Health against diverting the fund for other purposes.

JOHESU Chairman, Biobelemoye Josiah, gave the warning yesterday when he featured on African Independent Television’s programme, Kakaaki, monitored by our correspondent. 

He said the unions would resist any “deceitful tactics” by government officials.

He noted that the unions accepted the explanation offered by the government on the adjustments made on the hazard allowance, warning that any attempt to favour one union against the other would be resisted.

He said: “At the peak of our agitation, the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President also intervened. We’re aware that there was a provision of N80bn made to take care of adjustment of salaries. 

“Our money from what the committee has worked out is not beyond that N80bn. So, for the president who appealed to us and whom we’ve also listened to, we’ve kept our deal; we’ve kept our gunpowder dry.

“We’ve not shot anyone, so the president should do us that favour by giving us that level of love that we’ve shown. 

 “As for the approval of the hazard allowance, it’s not where we wanted to be, but as far as we’re concerned, the government pleaded that that’s what they can afford for now.

“Inasmuch as we’d have loved it to be higher than what we asked for, we’ve decided to give peace a chance and see how it’s implemented.”

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to avert any crisis that could cripple the sector next year.

He said: “We’re expecting that Mr President will do us well, because as a union, we’ve heeded to his request that we should keep the health sector strike free for the period.

”We’ve done our part, and we expect that no matter the games that the Federal Ministry of Health is playing by trying to deny us our own right, the president has the power to direct that the committee’s job should be included in the budget before he signs it.

“I want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians to plead on our behalf because we’ve been very patient, we’ve been very patriotic and we’ll not want a situation where all the efforts we have put to ensure that there is peace in the health sector to waste.

”Because if it is not put into the budget, next year – a few days from now, which when we go into next year, certainly, the health sector will not be as peaceful as we have tried to keep it. If they don’t put the adjusted CONHESS in the budget then they should be ready for us.”

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