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Workers’ strike paralyses Niger healthcare delivery system

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The ongoing industrial action embarked upon by Niger State and local government staffs, has paralysed healthcare delivery system of the State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who monitor the situation in the Minna, Suleja, and Kontagora general hospitals, reports that patients at the hospitals in Minna and the neonatal maternal hospital were evicted from the hospitals due to the biting effect of the strike.

Relations of patients who could afford the cost have transferred them to private hospitals who are currently making brisk businesses over the strike that entered the second week.

For Families who could not afford the exorbitant medical bills charge by private hospitals, some have moved their sick relations to Federal medical centre, Bida, for medical attention.

For those who could not afford the cost of moving their sick ones to the only available Federal medical facility in the state or afford the cost of seeking medical attention at the private hospital, they have decided to patronise the traditional healing home or herbal centres.

Speaking on the difficulty the ongoing strike is inflicting on residents of Minna and other major towns in the state, a senior Healthcare provider at Minna General Hospital, who asked not to be named, said the skeletal services provides by Management staff is not impacting on the need of patients and their relations.

According to her, “patients are suffering especially those who cannot afford the services of private practitioners.

“The government should do the needful in other to restore normal health services across the State in Government hospitals.

The Source further noted that some health officials will not want the strike to end soon because they are smiling to the banks.

“Some of colleagues will not want this strike to end soon because the fact remains that some of them are the proprietors of some of the Private hospitals currently making brisk business.

Meanwhile, organised Labour in Niger has transmitted its two-week warning strike to an indefinite strike action following the breakdown of negotiations with government officials.

The State government last week shifted ground by ceding to some of the demand like the refund of the 30 per cent salary deductions in 2020.

Gov. Abubakar Bello had agreed to commence the payment of the suspended retired Civil Servants gratuities by accepting to set aside N200 million Monthly to liquidate the outstanding arrears.

However, the major area of contention is the percentage payment of Local government workers salaries which Labour insisted must be restored.

However, the situation took a new dimension on Wednesday when organised labour issued a statement calling on workers to immediately embark on an indefinite strike action following reports that local government areas are still paying percentage salaries to their workers.

In a statement, signed by Comrade Yakubu Garba, Chairman, Nigeria Labour congress, Niger state council, labour ordered workers to commence the indefinite strike action.

He said the directive is sequel to the observation that Local government Areas of Niger state are adamant to meet Labour’s demand.

“It has come to the notice of organised labour that 70 per cent of February, 2022, salary was paid to workers of Rafi local government Areas of Niger on March 15th, 2022.

“The percentage payment was neither consented to by civil servants in Rafi LGA nor representative of the union”.

According to him, the action of the council negates the progress made in the ongoing negotiations between the organised labour and representatives of Niger state Government headed by the Deputy Governor.

Organized labour said the strike will remain in force until salaries of workers in the 25 Local government Areas are paid in 100 per cent gross component.

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