By Chioma Obinna
LAGOS — INTERNS at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Idi-Araba, Lagos, yesterday, protested non-payment of seven months salaries, disrupting healthcare services.
The protesting professionals comprising doctors, pharmacists and others, vowed that they would not return to work until arrears of salaries were paid in full.
However, LUTH management attributed the development to implementation of the newly introduced centralised Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS.
The aggrieved interns lamented that some of them had not received any salary since they began their internship in January, this year.
Most of the protesters who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said though they had lodged several complaints through their association, they were yet to get any response from the hospital’s management and the Federal Government on when their salaries would be paid.
One of them, a pharmacist, told Vanguard that many of them were yet to be captured by the IPPIS which the Federal Government introduced for payment of its staff’s salaries last year.
Their spokesperson said: “We will not go back to work until every one of us has been paid to the last kobo. We work day and night in this hospital without complain, but the only thing government knows is strike. We work like slaves, yet we are still struggling to feed.
“We cannot pay our rents. Those living outside the premises cannot afford the transport fares to work. We are struggling to feed and they expect us to keep quiet because we are interns, we will not. This is not the first time this is happening, but it will stop with us.”
Speaking with Vanguard, the Chief Medical Director of LUTH, Professor Akin Osibogun, blamed the situation to the newly introduced IPPIS. According to him, the un – paid salaries would be paid by the Federal Government. He denied involvement of the hospital management in the problem, saying “they are to be paid through Federal Government’s IPPIS recently introduced by the government.
The programme has been introduced in six Teaching Hospitals out of the 55 Federal government-owned facilities and will be extended to others later. I believe it is a teething problem that will be resolved very soon. It is a new programme and government will pay them all their entitlements in full. The salaries will come from Abuja and not the hospital.”