Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The National President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), Josiah Biobelemoye, has warned that there will be ‘war’ if the Federal Government does not fulfill its promises to the health sector.
Biobelemoye gave the warning on Wednesday in Abuja while addressing reporters after receiving an award from the Ethics Resource Centre of Nigeria for the medical worker of the decade (2011 – 2020). He appealed to the government that medical workers should not be led into ‘temptation’, saying that any strike action at this period will be disastrous for the country.
‘We entered into agreement with the Federal Ministry of Health where the Ministry agreed that there was error in the implementation of the COVID-19 allowances. People who are earning N5,000 that ought to have been prepared on 50 per cent were given 10 percent. Well, in our traditional way, we didn’t immediately rush on to strike, we engaged government and they have seen that reason. We are believing and hoping that before they pay the third batch, that correction will be made,’ the leader of the medical workers union stated.
‘Thank God the press is here. I want to make a very bright appeal to the Federal Ministry of Health as well as the Nigerian government. Do not lead us into temptation. I say again, do not lead us into temptation. Because if you lead us into temptation when we have expressed very high level of patience, you will not be forgiven by nature, God and the people. That correction should be made along with every other demand we have made peacefully should be given to us so that they don’t push us into embarking on strikes that we know will be negatively impactful on the Nigerians.
‘I am not going to close the door on dialogue, but dialogue cannot be inexhaustible. Dialogue must have a mark where it starts and ends, but where we begin to see that they are igniting our appetite to distrust them, that will be the signal for war.’
Expressing his delight at being awarded the Medical Worker of the Decade, Biobelemoye said: ‘It’s beyond expression and it is out of the ordinary. Especially now that we are at the forefront fighting to protect Nigerians from the savage that is COVID-19.’
Also gracing the award ceremony, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, expressed his endorsement of MHWUN President, saying that the award was very well deserved for all the efforts that Biobelemoye has put in the health sector over the years.
He went on to call for more investment in the health sector and in the education sector.
‘The COVID-19 has exposed some challenges in two critical sectors of the economy. These two sectors are education sector and health sector and they shape development everywhere around the world. Therefore we need more investment in health and we need more investment in education. Our people need to be healthy and educated to be productive,’ Wabba stated.