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Health Workers Begin Nationwide Strike, Today

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Health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Health Care Professionals (JOHESU) have directed their members to withdraw their services from September 13, by 11.59 am, due to Federal Government inability to meet their demands.
The strike followed the expiration of the 15-day ultimatum by JOHESU to the Federal Government to meet its demands or it would down tools.
The demands of the aggrieved workers include; the review of the defective implementation of Covvid-19 Special Inducement and Hazard Allowance; the payment of all withheld salaries of JOHESU members, including the withheld April and May, 2018 salaries; and the adjustment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) as was done with Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) since 2014.
Others listed in the letter to the Federal Ministry of Health with the reference number HQ/JOHESU/ADM/FMoH/VOL.II/55 are the implementation of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (ADR) Consent judgment and other court judgments as well as the call to address the structural and infrastructural decay in the health sector.
Already, the union has written to the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, in fulfilment of Trade Dispute Act.
It would be recalled that the leadership of JOHESU had met with Ngige, who is the Conciliator General for the country, last Thursday, over the threat to embark on strike if the government failed to address their grievances.
But after its expanded National Executive Council (NEC), meeting, last Saturday, the union said that the meeting with government did not address their demands.
The letter to the minister read: “You would recall that at the end of the meeting held in your office on Thursday, 10th September, 2020, JOHESU demanded that the outcome of the meeting between JOHESU and the Federal Government be reported back to our expanded NEC meeting and give feedback to the Federal Government within 48 hours.
“In the light of the above, the meeting of our expanded NEC was held today, Saturday, 12th September, 2020.
“At the end of the meeting, which was held both physically and virtually, it was unanimously agreed that since nothing concrete was achieved at the said meeting with the Federal Government, that the strike notice is still germane and alive.
“Therefore, the 15-day ultimatum still subsists and with effect from midnight of Sunday, 13th September, 2020, our members shall withdraw their services due to Federal Government inability to meet their demands.”
The letter was signed by the President of Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Comrade Biobelemoye Joy Josiah, the union’s Secretary-General, Dr. Silas Adamu; President, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), A. A. Adenij; and the General Secretary, A. A. Shettima.
Others were, President, Senior Staff Association of Universities Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIAI), Dr. A.B. Akintola; and the General Secretary, Dr. Ezekiel Popoola; President, Nigerian Union of Allied, Health Professionals (NUAHP), Dr. O. Ogbonna; the General Secretary, Martin Egbanubi; National President, Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Hassan Makolo; and General Secretary (NASU), Comrade Peters Adeyemi.
The Minister for Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari, last Friday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, had expressed optimism that JOHESU would suspend the planned strike.
Briefing State House correspondents, the minister said, “We engaged the Joint Health Sector Unions, they served notice of withdrawal of services on their employer, the Federal Ministry of Health. This Joint Sector union comprises of Nurses and Midwives Association, Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria, Radiotherapists Union and Medical and Health Workers Union, everybody in the health sector.
“So, there were five points demand from the ultimatum and we discussed every point there… and gave some assignments. They and NARD had complained that special hazard being paid, that there were some areas of hiccups and roughages, that some of their members were omitted, doctors and health workers and that some didn’t get the right percentage.
“If you remember, we did an MoU and a Memorandum of Action too by which we are giving 50 per cent of their pay as special Covid-19 Allowance for three months of April, May, June.
“They said some of their people were not captured, so have addressed it. Part of the reason why some people didn’t get the money was that we had a budget of N20billion which got exhausted by the time we were paying April and May, and we had another N2billion left to pay part of June.
“So, the President graciously approved another N8.9billion and this has been applied, the mandate has gone to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for disbursement through the IPPIS platform, so we hope that the issue of non payment of June will be a settled matter in a question of days.
“While as we have been able to get NARD to call of their strike, we have not been able to get JOHESU to give us a withdrawal of their ultimatum which is what we need in industrial relations because what they served was what we call trade dispute notice, so they need to cancel that trade dispute notice for their employers, they promised to go back to their executive and reach back to us as government side.
“I am a conciliator actually but I am in government. So, they reach me for transmission to their employers that they have accepted or they have not accepted. But we are optimistic that they will accept because we trashed every issue that was brought on the table.
“We also thank them for the resilience they have shown so far, they are like our soldiers in the health warfront, this is not fighting terrorism but it is also the same kind of fight where you expose yourself to risk. We also clarify for them the issue of group life insurance which the Federal Government paid N9.3billion to cover all the health workers and even we extended it to all workers in federal ministries and parastatals, they are treasury funded those who are not treasury funded like NNPC, PENCOM, NCAA, etc take care of themselves because they are revenue-generating.
“So, they have been aligned now to the appropriate method for putting up their claims through their various institutions and we put a timeline for the Federal Ministry of Health to handle that matter.”

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FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others

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The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.

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Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA

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The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”

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