Removal from UK red list welcome devt, but no official communication yet — FG

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to effect payment of doctors, nurses and other health workers for the period they were on strike in 2018 and 2021.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this to State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Minister said the payment will be for the two months the resident doctors went on strike in 2021 and the three months the nurses and other health workers down tools in 2018.

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According to him, “Mr. President has approved last week and I have the authority and letter, directing the Minister of Finance to release the funds of the resident doctors for September and October 2021, which was seized in conformity with the law.

“In the same vein, the approval also covers members of the JOHESU who went on strike in 2018 for three months. After the first month, after March, when they couldn’t come back, we asked that their pay be suspended, this is in tandem with the ILO principles at work.

“You have a right to strike, but the employer has a right to stop your remuneration and if possible, use it to keep his enterprise going by taking new hands, where possible, especially in essential services.

“So that same money for 2018 April and May Mr. President has again approved that the Finance Minister refunds or reimburse on compassionate grounds, those payments. This is predicated on the grounds that this group of workers has been showing a lot of dedication and concern to the COVID and that their Hazard Allowance for 2021 had remained what it was before”.

The Minister also said that he discussed the issue concerning the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and how to settle the concerns raised by the union including the payment mode outside the IPPIS it developed.

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