The Nigeria Medical As
sociation (NMA) in Bayelsa has threatened to withdraw health services in public hospitals over five months salary arrears owed its members.
The state Chairman of NMA, Dr Israel Jeremiah who said this at a news conference in Yenagoa, gave the mandatory 21 days notice to Bayelsa Government.
The strike notice, dated June 6, was for the three affiliates of NMA in the state.
The NMA noted that the non-payment of salary in Bayelsa since January 2016 had taken a negative toll on the health sector as residents could no longer afford to seek medical attention and care compelled to either patronise quacks or resort to self medication.
He listed the affiliates as the Association of Resident Doctors in Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria.
Others are the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners.
He noted that the House Officers who were the most vulnerable in the medical profession could no longer meet their obligations as a result of untold hardship.
“In spite of the untold hardship occasioned by this non-payment of salaries for five months now, our members have kept faith with our Hippocratic Oath and continued to render services and ensured that Bayelsa people get the needed healthcare.
“The continued non-payment of salary has adversely affected healthcare delivery in the state.
“Hospital attendance has markedly reduced, patients can no longer procure drugs, pay for tests, settle bills on discharge and in the worst case scenario, opt to die at home,” Jeremiah said.
The NMA noted that the association was not part of the agreement that Bayelsa government reached with organised labour to pay workers in the state 50 per cent salary pending the improvement of the state’s revenue.
The association maintained that it would insist on full payment of their members’ salaries as it was excluded from the meetings where the agreement to accept 50 per cent salary was reached.
“We dissociate ourselves completely from the purported agreement between NLC/TUC and Bayelsa government where a payment of 50 per cent monthly salaries among other agreements were said to have been reached.
“We insist on full payment of our salaries 100 per cent in full,” NMA insisted.
The association noted that if the outstanding salaries were not paid before the expiration of the strike notice on June 27, 2016, all affiliates of NMA will be compelled to go on indefinite strike and full withdrawal of medical services.
They urged well-meaning people of Bayelsa, Speaker of Bayelsa House of Assembly, royal fathers, opinion leaders and statesmen to intervene to avert the looming strike and its disastrous consequences.
Diri Charges Security Agencies On Intelligence Gathering
Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has urged security agencies to invest more time and resources in intelligence gathering in their effort to overcome banditry, insurgency and other securty challenges confronting the country.
He made the call at a retirement party organized by the state government in honour of the outgoing state Commissioner of Police, CP Mike Okoli, in Yenagoa.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor emphasized the need for security agencies to adopt a holistic approach that will encourage the active participation of civilians in their campaign against insecurity.
According to Senator Diri, until security is seen as everyone’s business in society, the use of kinetic approach to addressing security challenges will yield little or no meaningful result.
While calling on the police and other security outfits to be above board in the performance of their duties, he urged people of the state to always volunteer information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of criminals in the state.
“Security is everybody’s business, but more often than not it is seen as nobody’s responsibility. Sometimes we want somebody to do something about security, and nobody does anything about it, and at the end of the day security is not taken seriously.
“But somebody has to do something about security. We should all do something about security so that our state can be safe.I will like our security agencies to be more proactive and preemptive in carrying out their duties because it is cheaper to be preventive. They have to make more effort in the area of intelligence gathering from the civil populace”, he said.
Describing CP Mike Okoli as a refined product with an unblemished record throughout his service in the Nigeria Police, Governor Diri said society had a lot to learn from the wealth of experience of the retiring Commissioner of Police.
He acknowledged the sacrifices being made by security personnel, noting that some of them get killed or become paralyzed in the course of securing lives and property, and therefore, must be appreciated in society.
“We need to learn a lot from the experiences of CP Mike Okoli. He had good cooperation with his colleagues in the state. No wonder, Bayelsa State had a decline in crime during their service in this state. As a government, we are very grateful. We know what these people (security agents) pass through. As civilians, we sleep at the risk of their breath, spine and throat.
“When you are sleeping and a crime is being committed, the Commissioner of Police and other service commanders would rush out because there is something going on.We are praying for CP Mike Okoli that as you are going into your retirement… from the Nigerian Police, we thank God on your behalf for being who you are and who you are going to be”, he added.
Earlier in their separate goodwill messages, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, His Royal Majesty King Alfred Diete-Spiff, and the Commandant of Police Staff College, Jos, Assistant Inspector General, Don Awunah, acknowledged CP Okoli’s contributions to the relative peace and security in the state.
They described him as an outstanding and accomplished officer with an unblemished track record in the Nigerian Police and wished him the best in his future endeavours.
Responding, the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, CP Mike Okoli, thanked Governor Douye Diri, and his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, for honouring him by hosting his retirement thanksgiving reception.
Okoli also thanked the service commanders and everyone who made out time to attend the event, especially the Commandant of Police Staff College, Jos, A.I.G Don Awunah, and prayed God to bless them.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Delta Commissioner Urges Students To Study Hard
Commissioner for Secondary Education in Delta State, Mrs Rose Ezewu, has urged Nigerian students to always study hard to excel in their examinations to become productive adults.
Ezewu made the plea yesterday, while monitoring the ongoing third term promotion examinations in some schools across the state.
According to her, this is one way for students to broaden their minds, knowledge and become successful individuals, problem solvers, employers and wealth creators in the society.
The commissioner described teachers as critical stakeholders in the development of any society, especially in the area of building and shaping the orientation of children.
“Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration is committed to transforming the education sector by ensuring a conducive teaching and learning environment for students and teachers in the state.
“Teachers should reciprocate government’s huge investment in the education sector by being more committed to their duties,’’ she said.
Some of the schools monitored by the commissioner and her team included Okeme Secondary School, Okuokoko in Okpe Local Government Area and Ogbe Secondary School, Effurun.
Others are Alegbon Secondary School, Ekpan, both in Uvwie Local Government Area, and Edjeba College in Warri South Local Government Area.
Don Advocates Balance Between Demand, Supply Of Teachers
Prof. Ebele Egwunyenga of the Delta State University, Abraka, yesterday advocated an equilibrium between the demand for and supply of teachers in the school system
Egwunyenga made the assertion in a paper she presented at the 7th Quadrennial 8th State Delegates Conference of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Delta State Chapter, in Asaba.
She said that adequate personnel is essential in the sustainability of Nigeria’s educational system.
According to her, adequacy is not limited to the number of personnel as it includes equitable distribution of teachers according to areas of specialisation.
“I recommend that government should ensure that there is equilibrium between teachers’ demand and supply in the school system.
“Government should improve on social amenities, particularly in rural areas. This will encourage teachers posted to the area.
“Government should provide modern technology for both teaching and learning. School facilities should be made attractive by government such that teachers would wish to be in school daily.”
Egwunyenga, who underscored the importance of education in nation building, said that education remained the vehicle for sustainable socio-economic development of any nation.
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