By Segun Awofadeji in Gombe
The lingering rift between the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole and the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), took a twist as the unions are calling for the immediate sack of the Minister for unfair treatment.
Rising from its northeast zonal consultative forum meeting in Gombe yesterday, the national general secretary of the allied health professionals and a national leader of JOHESU, comrade Obesesan Oluwatoyin accused the Minister of bias in handling issues in the administration of the Ministry.
He said the Minister had lost all it takes to head the ministry of health, thus, denigrating the position through his unfair actions.
Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, Comrade Oluwatoyin said the Minister of health should be blamed for their refusal to return to work even as he reiterated their resolve to continue with the strike action until President Buhari intervened in the matter.
According to him, “the Ministry of health has placed itself to work against this Government, we are calling for the sack of the Minister of health because he has shown that he is incompetent in the administration of the Ministry”.
He explained that the Ministry and the unions had met severely but that the Government was not responding, “The Minister is not responding, he is talking as a Doctor forgetting that he is father to all. What we are asking is simply that the Federal Government should make sure that they implement the agreement they signed with us on 30th September, 2017”.
He denied insinuations that they were in rivalry with Nigeria Medical Association saying, “there is no rivalry between JOHESU and NMA, our problem is with the Federal Government”.
He explained that, “the thing is that whatever the NMA says, the Minister comes to the negotiation table and re-echo it, which means, they are together working in tandem to make sure that they block us from getting what we are getting. If the Minister had not been reechoing what the NMA had been saying, we would not have joined issues with the NMA”.
“The Minister came out openly to say that JOHESU wants to collect what the Doctors are collecting. What we want is that the Doctors salaries be transcribed to our own salary. The Minister has refused to obey over ten court judgments in favour of JOHESU. The Minister is partial’” he emphasised.
He stated also that the Minister of Health must not necessarily be a medical Doctor as was the case in many developed countries including the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“We said the Ministry must be restructured, it’s not supposed to be the Ministry for Doctors alone the way it is now, everything in the ministry is skewed to Doctors, this is injustice, other professionals must be reckoned with in the whole scheme.
“We are sorry, the Ministry of health and Doctors say we are not important, we are slave, we are supportive workers, forgetting that we have our own roles in the health system. Now that we are on strike, there is nothing we can do, that is why the President must intervene as a matter of urgency,” he stressed.