By Ikpefan, Abuja
Families of Nigerian health workers who died on the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic will receive financial benefits, the House of Representative has said.
This is just as the health workers warned against deferred and delayed payment of salaries by the Federal Government.
Chairman, House Committee on Health Services, Tanko Sununu, disclosed this during a visit to the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) in Abuja.
He was received by National President of MHWUN, Josiah Biobelemoye.
Sununu said the National Assembly was still reviewing the manner of compensation that should be made available to the affected families.
The lawmaker said the House of Reps under the leadership of Femi Gbajiabiamila has set up a committee to interface and interfere in all pending issues concerning the payment and welfare of health workers.
He urged the aggrieved workers who have been threatening to down tools over government’s unfair treatment, to consider the millions of lives such an action could put at risk.
According to him, the committee’s primary responsibility was not only to ensure all demands of health workers in the country were met, but to also promote harmony in the sector.
He said: “We are not unmindful of our health workers in the frontline who paid the ultimate price. This is why we are working out a plan to compensate their families.
“A committee has been set up. We will call for a public hearing where the strategy and method to be used in disbursing the compensations will be agreed on. The families of the deceased will be located and we must ensure the money reaches them.
“Our aim is to ensure there is no disharmony anymore in the health sector. We are reaching out to major stakeholders and negotiating their demands to ensure health workers continue with their work with no hitches or grievances.”
MHWUN President, Biobelemoye urged the legislative and executive arms of government to prioritise the needs and demands of healthcare workers.
He warned that the delayed payment of deferred and adjusted salaries was a ticking time bomb.
Commending the efforts and intervention of the National Assembly in the welfare of healthcare workers including the steps being taken to back the Consolidated Revenue Provision of one percent by law, he called for increased funding of the health sector and budgetary provision to fund the salary adjustments.
“We are doing so much and our people are showing so much understanding within this period because its COVID time but you can’t expect people to be patient all through for ever.
“Government said there is no money but they are planning to pay private school teachers who are not even under the employment of government. We that are in the fore front contending with the salvage how will you then explain to us government does not have the money to pay our deferred salaries of April and May 2018, and the withheld salaries in FMC Owerri, JUTH, LUTH and others. How will you convince us?
“We are not against government trying to help out private schools, but if you are helping the private schools why can’t you help us. Is it justifiable to keep the salaries of those who are in the war front?
“We are appealing to the executive; quickly address these matters because they are ticking time bombs and they should not allow them to be detonated before they come to the rescue because any detonated bomb does not have positive results, its always negative,” he stated.
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