FG to address health workers agitation over perm sect

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Abuja  –   The Federal Government on Tuesday assured aggrieved workers in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) that their grievances were being addressed.

Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Head of Service of the Federation, told the protesting workers at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja that a committee had been constituted by her office to study their demands and make recommendations.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workers, acting under the aegis of the Federal Civil Service Senior Staff Union, staged a peaceful protest at about 10 a.m. at the FMoH.

They are demanding for the redeployment of their Permanent Secretary, Mrs Amina Shamaki.

The workers accused the scribe of abuse of office and high handedness, among others.

However, Oyo-Ita while addressing the protestors at the secretariat, urged them to allow the committee complete its assignment.

“What I have seen here this morning has really surprised me.

“Two weeks ago a family meeting was held that resulted to the formation of a sub- committee to study your grievances.

“I believe that you ought to have allowed the sub-committee to finish its assignment.

“The issue of your Permanent Secretary coming to the office with security aides is not out of place because all top government functionaries, including permanent secretaries and chief executives of parastatal agencies are entitled to security details.

“I was also almost prevented from coming into the Federal Secretariat by some people ringing bells, but anyhow reason prevailed,’’ said the nation’s head of service.

Oyo-Ita, who was visibly angry with the interruptions of her speech, noted that the workers were not interested in what she was saying and ended the address abruptly.

Welcoming the head of service earlier, Mr Abba Hassan, the Chairman of the union, Federal Ministry of Health chapter, urged his colleagues to listen to government.

Hassan said part of the grievances of his members was the alleged high handedness of and abuse of office by the permanent secretary.

The labour leader also advised government to expedite action on the issue.

NAN also reports that the workers carried some placards that read: “Awarding contracts without due process’’ and “Bribing FMoH workers with N5,000 to cover her corrupt acts’’.

Others were “Directors of FMoH refuse to obey eight years tenure policy by taking government to court’’, “PS FMoH is abusing govt office’’ and “Dr Shamaki please leave FMoH’’.

The permanent secretary was said to have resumed work on May 31, after attending the World Health Assembly conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

The permanent secretary was also said to have arrived office early in the morning with armed security personnel.

Meanwhile, the ministry was yet to officially react to the development.

Normalcy had returned to the ministry as many workers were seen in their various offices. (NAN)

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