For having the rare courage to demand for his removal from office, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has resolved to take a decisive punitive action against members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) who failed to return to work as a court of competent jurisdiction has ruled that the striking health workers should return to work.
On Friday, the minister issued a strong directive to all the Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) and Medical Directors (MDs) of tertiary hospitals to open resumption register for the striking workers and document their resumption to duty in their respective hospitals.
He warned them to go a step further to update him, as the workers return to their duty posts.
This directive followed a call by JOHESU on President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, to remove the minister from office, “as his continued stay remains a major barrier to the resolution of the on-going nationwide strike of health workers.”
As at Friday, JOHESU Chairman, Com. Biobelemoye Josiah, insisted on the sack of Prof. Adewole because his presence “is a major threat to Public Health especially at a time that the dreaded Ebola disease is currently rampaging in some African Countries.”
Though the Minister said the Federal Government was committed to resolving the dispute with JOHESU, in a statement signed by the Director, Media and Public Relations in the Ministry, Mrs Boade Akinola, he ordered the CMDs and MDs “to commence the process of documenting staff as they return to work and update the Ministry according.”
The statement said the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has given an order of interim Injunction compelling the striking members of JOHESU to immediately resume duties at the various health institutions across Nigeria and the Federal government to put in place a reconciliatory process towards putting an end to the strike.
Adewole, who was reacting to the judgement said that government had already put in place a reconciliatory process towards an amicable settlement of the trade dispute between the FG and JOHESU.
He said the FG’s side waited for six hours on Thursday for JOHESU’s representatives to continue with the jointly agreed meeting which JOHESU boycotted.
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He said: “Shortly after the adjournment of the boycotted meeting, an official communication titled: “Collapse of negotiation between the federal government and joint health sector unions was issued by JOHESU informing that negotiation with Federal government has broken down.”
The minister stated that the government had not reneged on its commitment to promoting peace and harmony in the health sector but will engage in continuous dialogue on how to improve the sector.
Adewole who said the FG is open to negotiations on the demands of the Union asked that members of the union should consider the plight of innocent Nigerians in need of health care and return to work while negotiation continues.
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