The efforts of the Lagos State Government to avert the three-day warning strike declared by the nurses in the state proved abortive on Saturday as the angry workers walked out of the meeting called by the government towards addressing their concerns.
The nurses, under the umbrella of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), had on Friday at a congress held at their secretariat at Agidingbi area of Ikeja, declared the three-day warning strike to begin on Monday, January 10, and end on Wednesday, January 12.
Their demands include resolution of what they termed “acute shortage of nurses and midwives, retention incentives to arrest the turnover rate, proper consolidation of CONHESS salary structure and improved working conditions.”
But a meeting at the Marina home of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday which was attended by some cabinet members in the state including the health commissioner and his counterpart at the ministry of establishments, Akin Abayomi and Ajibola Ponnle respectively; permanent secretary at the ministry of health and his counterpart at the health service commission, Olusegun Ogboye and Benjamin Eniayewu respectively; chief medical director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Adetokunbo Fabanwo, among others, failed to hold.
The nurses, who were led into the meeting by the association’s chairman, Olurotimi Awojide, and the secretary, Toba Odumosu, disagreed with the composition of the government’s representatives, insisting that they were only ready to meet with the governor.
According to reliable sources, who did not want to be mentioned for fear of sanctions, the union officers said they had held several meetings with the same officials including the head of service in the state, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, without a logical conclusion and that they were unsure if their matters were being raised before the governor.
They said it would only be appropriate to raise the matter directly with the governor, saying only a commitment made by the governor would be taken to their members for deliberation.
Meanwhile, the union’s secretary, Mr Odumosu, in a terse response to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiry on Sunday, said it was true that the union refused to meet with the government officials for fear of “repetitions.”
He said: “Yes, we had to walk out of the meeting because the invitation we received was to meet the governor and not representatives. We had met those same officials several times in the past without resolution. So it is important that we hear from the horse’s mouth.”
He said though they met the governor on their way out of the venue, he apologised for not making himself available for the meeting.
“The governor apologised and he already scheduled another meeting with us for today (Sunday) by 5p.m. So we are patiently waiting for the outcome of the meeting,” Mr Odumosu said.
The chief press secretary to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Gboyega Akosile, on Sunday, confirmed that he was aware that the meeting could not hold.
Mr Akosile, however, could neither confirm nor deny that another meeting was already scheduled with the union. He said he would confirm and revert to our reporter.
However, as of the time of filing this report, Mr Akosile had yet to revert on the matter.
According to the association, the exodus of its members abroad for greener pastures is leaving untold pressure on those left in the system, saying the high turnover of workforce in the state is already becoming unbearable to the existing members.
Breaking down the statistics, the union wrote: “The increased foreign labour migration of nurses is no longer news. Understandably this has led to an acute shortage in the staffing of health facilities. According to our records, more than 496 nurses left the service of the Lagos State Health Service Commission alone between 2019 to 2021 and with less than 15 per cent due to statutory retirement. For context, the commission has only about 2,350 nurses.
Over 200 nurses left the service of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital within the same period. Over 80 left the primary healthcare board within the last two years which has only about 700 nurses and midwives.
“It is clear that nurses do not find job satisfaction or fulfillment here. Nurses are quitting within weeks of taking appointments. And this mass exodus continues to further overburden and overstress the nurses still within the service. The government has a replacement-on-exit policy in place which has been rendered ineffective by the inability to easily find replacements. Nurses are critical assets. Out of the 500 vacancies approved for recruitment by the governor for the Health Service Commission recently, less than 300 applied. This is in a country with a 33.2 per cent unemployment rate. It is certain far much less would actually take the job. LASUTH experienced the same fate in its own recruitment effort and it would be the same for the Primary Healthcare Board when it starts its recruitment.
“The inherent danger is that while the government is finding it difficult to fill entry-level positions, more senior nurses are also leaving the service. A replacement-on-exit policy does not cater to the deficiency of experienced hands that result from this mass exodus. The effect on the quality of care can easily be inferred.”
FG Empowers 678 Farmers In Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa
The Federal Government, in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), has empowered about 678 farmers through the IFAD COVID-19 Pandemic Rural Poor Stimulus Facility Grant in Ogun, Taraba and Nasarawa states.
The Acting National Programme Coordinator, FGN/IFAD Value Chain Development Programme, Dr. Fatima Aliyu, disclosed this at the flag-off ceremony of rice production inputs in Kogi State.
She said the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) was a joint programme by IFAD and the Federal Government and was implemented by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Giving the breakdown of the beneficiaries in the three states, Aliyu explained that 37 men and 72 women totalling 109 farmers were empowered in Ogun, 234 men and 215 women totalling 449 farmers were empowered in Taraba, while 43 men and 77 women totalling 120 were empowered in Nasarawa State bringing the grand total to 678 farmers.
She stated that the programme was aimed at boosting and improving farmers’ wealth, employment generation for youths, and fortifying Nigeria’s food security.
Aliyu said that the VCDP would also provide extension services to targeted farmers who will receive training on good practices in the application of fertilisers and agro-chemicals as well as farm management and climate-smart agriculture.
According to her, “This is a special occasion of the flag-off of agro-inputs distribution to our great farmers which has been made possible through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility grant”
“In early 2020, there was an outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which affected the world and disrupted farming activities and food systems. To cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on farmers, IFAD gave a grant tagged Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) to VCDP through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“Through the RPSF, 2,793 vulnerable farmers will receive agro inputs to support their farming activities.
“A total of 678 farmers in Ogun, Taraba and Nasarawa states will receive these inputs free consisting of 40kg certified rice seeds, 2 litres of herbicides, 2 bags of NPK and one bag of Urea fertilizers.
“To enhance transparency in the process, the programme engaged the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) for the effective management of the input – supply, redemption and delivery in all the nine states through the voucher input redemption system.
“We recognise and appreciate the support of IFAD in our quest to improve the livelihoods of our smallholder farmers and specifically to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the agricultural sector, particularly for VCDP farmers.
“To our respected farmers, we implore you to make judicious use of the inputs. The inputs are not meant to be sold out but for you to use them on your farms”.
Anambra House Of Assembly Expresses Shock Over Member’s Murder
The Anambra State House of Assembly has expressed deep shock over the news of the gruesome murder of one of its member, Mr Okechukwu Okoye, by alleged gunmen.
Mr Uche Okafor,Speaker of the House,in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary,Chief Emma Madu, yesterday in Akwa, described the act as heart piercing and unfortunate.
According to him, Okoye was one of the outspoken and articulate lawmakers, adding that the legislative institution in the state has lost a quality member, in the person of the fallen law maker.
Okafor said the late lawmaker had a great sense of humour and was deeply committed to duty, adding that his demise would be felt in the House for a long time to come.
He urged Gov. Chukwuma Soludo, not to relent in his efforts toward achieving maximum security of lives and property of residents.
Okafor further called on all well-meaning citizens to join hands with the governor in the direction of the fight against social ills and all forms of criminality in Anambra.
The Speaker, on behalf of other state lawmakers, then commiserated with the immediate family of late Okoye, his kinsmen, Gov. Soludo, the entire Isuofia community and Anambra State at large on the death of the politician.
Okafor enjoined all to take solace in the fact that the short but eventful life of the the late Okoye was full of quality service to God and humanity and would remain ever green in the hearts of the people.
He prayed God to grant him eternal rest.
The Tide source reports that Okoye was a member of the state legislature, who represented Aguata 2 Constituency.
He was kidnapped on May 15 and his lifeless body found on May 21, at Nnobi in Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.
Police Arrest Primary School Teacher For Rape In Ogun
A 25-year-old teacher at a nursery and primary school in Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, Ayobami Runsewe, has been arrested by the police for an alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl.
This was contained in a statement signed by the state police spokesperson, Abimbola Oyeyemi, and made available to journalists in Abeokuta at the weekend.
In the statement, Mr Oyeyemi said the mother had gone to the station with the victim to report how the teacher reportedly lured her to his house.
The teacher was alleged to have had “unlawful carnal knowledge” after an evening class, at about 4:30pm.
Mr Oyeyemi, a Deputy Supretendent of Police, said “the blood soaked pants of the victim was brought to the station as an evidence”.
Mr Oyeyemi added that upon the report, “the DPO of Ago Iwoye, SP Noah Adekanye, had detailed detectives to the scene where the randy teacher was promptly arrested.
“On interrogation, he initially denied having anything with the victim, but when the victim confronted him, he was unable to say anything further”.
The statement said the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, has directed that the teacher be moved to the anti-human trafficking and child labour unit for further investigation.
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