By Chinonso Alozie

Owerri— Over 300 staff of Imo State University Teaching Hospital, IMUTH, Orlu, yesterday, blocked the administrative complex of the hospital, over the allegation of half payment of salaries among other issues.

Their grievances were outlined by the chairman, Joint Action Committee,  JAC, Mr. Bright Chukwunta, who led the protest.

According to him, they have also declared a 21-day prayer and fasting to seek the face of God in order to intervene in their predicament.

He said: “We are not happy that our salaries have been arbitrarily reduced by 30 percent for the past 18 months and the salaries of the past three months, May, June and July of 2017, are yet to be paid. We cannot even pay our wards’ school fees.

“We conduct child delivery operation with torchlight.

“And we have a member of the top management committee who has collected three months salary  in advance, while we are not paid. There’s no staff clinic and the management  is running on the hospital’s billing.

“The people you are seeing here are made up of   Association of Resident Doctors, Medical and Dental Consultants of Nigeria, National Association of Nurses and Midwives, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria and National Union of Allied Professionals.

“We  have declared a 21-day fasting and prayer in the hospital for God to hear our cry.”

In his reaction, the Chief Medical Director of IMUTH, Mr. Fredrick Anolu, said: “It is true that we are owing our staff three months salaries and have been  paying 70 per cent for sometime now but it is not our making. The 70 per cent payment is the policy of the state government, which was implemented across the state.”

He said that efforts are on to address the issues raised by the staff, adding that if the staff go on strike, it would affect their means of their income.

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