The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate, the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for not privatising the health sector. They condemned privatisation of the sector, saying it would lead to masses’ exploitation.
The leaderships of the two Unions, Ayuba Wabba and Biobelemoye Josiah, who expressed their concern at the recent 45th session of the MHWUN’s National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, urged health workers to unite for a common interest to resist the idea, described as anti-masses.
According to Wabba, anyone who says health care privatisation will better the sector is telling lies. ”Anybody that tells me that privatising the health care will make it better, it is false. What has become of the privitisation of the power sector? We have seen it as an exploitation. Nigerians have been crying to be given meters, but there is none. Not because meters cannot be provided, but they realised that once they provide meters, exploitation will end, estimated billing will end and citizens will drive the process; that is why up till now they have refused, despite the fact that it is a major component of the agreement of privisation,” Wabba said.
Josiah on his part, commended President Buhari, for refusing to privatise the healthcare system, even as he warned against fresh strike action. He called on the President to always listen to the other side of every story given to him by his aides. ”The truth of the matter is that, in the health sector, there has been deprivation. Seventy per cent of the healthcare professionals, their voices are not being heard. Their voices have been dominated,” he said.
The MHWUN President also hinted an impending strike action if the government continued to delay in addressing the demands of health workers, especially Skipping arears. It, therefore, urged its members to prepare for an indefinite strike action to push home their demands.
He called on Nigerians to prepare their minds and bear with the workers when the time comes for the strike.
Speaking on why his group will resume the strike, he said the continous inability of the government to meet the demands of the health workers, especially the payment of areas skipping, will no longer be tolerated.
“Comrades, we have to prepare ourselves. We will no longer take that deceitful story of there is no money. At the appropriate time, we will come to you so that we will carry out destiny in our hands.
“We call on Nigerians to have that understanding with us when the time comes because if the same ministry can appropriate to pay illegal items to the medical doctors such as skipping arears.
“Another exposure of insincerity was that after paying the medical doctors skipping arears, which they were not supposed to benefit, they now went into the Federal Executive Council with a so-called white paper that skipping has been abrogated. Can FEC quash the ruling of any court?
“If we believe in the rule of law, they just have to pay us that money because they have paid those who are not entitled to it.
“Even when the Income and Wages Commission advised that these people are not entitled to this money, don’t pay them, the same government, the same ministry of health that said there is no money still went ahead to pay them.
“Unless we agree to take our destiny in our hands, nobody in that ministry will be human enough to give us what is due to us,” he said.
Reacting to the fight against corruption by President Buhari-led administraion, Josiah said: “It is our view that corruption cannot be fought when injustice cannot be redressed.
He said: “Let me therefore, use this opportunity to call on the government to redesign the anti-corruption war to assume a holistic and down-to-the-grassroot approach, as well as support and protect those heeding the call to support and advance the fight.”
Speaking on his achievements within the past two years, he said: “Recall that in 2017, we performed the ground breaking ceremony of our Specialist Hospital project. I am happy to report to you that work has steadily progressed at the sight.
“We shall endeavour to make out time for an inspection visit to the sight in the course of our crowded programme. Our efforts at remodeling the fourth floor to suit the purpose it was meant to serve has reached 99 per cent completion with the delivery of a 550KVA plant that is expected to provide an uninterrupted power supply to the facility. You would agree with me that power supply is central to the success of any hospital facility.”
He, however, condemned the killing of health workers in the northeast by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents, describing it as barbaric and satanic.