Following the call by Delta state commissioner for health, Dr. Mordi Ononye for the nurses to call off their strike and other series of allegations against them, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has said that the action of the commissioner will rather prolong the strike than ending the industrial action.
The commissioner had, in a statement released on Friday, called on the nurses to call off the strike the association embarked on Thursday December 3, 2020. According to the statement, the nurses are embarking on indefinite strike action over demands on the state government
In the statement, Dr. Ononye alleged that a fruitful tripartite meeting had been held in Asaba which comprised the health commissioner, the state chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the association’s executive
He said the meeting which held on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 was convened by him as a follow-up to previous meetings he had held with officials of the association to resolve the issues they raised in their notice of industrial action.
According to the statement, it was agreed at the meeting that the intended strike action should be suspended until further notice to enable all stakeholders meet again after the committee set up to determine seniority of nurses in the state has submitted its report.
The commissioner, in the statement, said the committee which was to use cadre of the nurses and nominal roll as criteria for determining the seniority of nurses in the state was given until January 31, 2021 to submit their report with a representative of the association as a member of the committee.
Dr. Ononye noted that issues tabled and exhaustively discussed at the meeting included selection of Director of Nursing Services in the Ministry; lateral transfer of 31 Nurses/Midwives from the State Hospital Management Board to the State Ministry of Health; accurate nominal roll and seniority list of Nurses and Midwives in the State, posting of Principals of Schools of Nursing and Midwifery and employment of nurses into the service.
According to him, it was agreed by all at the meeting that just coming out of the #EndSARS protest, the outbreak of Yellow fever in some local government areas in the state and the on-going Yellow fever mass vaccination campaign, it would not be in the interest of Deltans for the healthcare system to be affected by any disruptive action.
In the statement, the commissioner alleged that the association has a hidden agenda against government, as all participants at the meeting left with the belief and understanding that the proposed strike action would be suspended until the meeting is reconvened.
However, the nurses said the commissioner’s statement was not the true state of events. The body told Emerald News that the commissioner is speaking from two sides of his mouth. It said Dr. Ononye painted the matter to look as if the nurses have issues with government.
The association said emphatically: “We want to let him know that we don’t have anything against the government, rather he is the one turning the system upside down. His continuous lies will prolong the strike action. Rather than resolving the matter, he keeps blackmailing us.
” He is claiming that nurses disrupted his exam that is why he arrested them. Can one person be fighting a whole group of people writing examination? It was when nurses heard that one nurse was arrested in Warri that other nurses mobilised and say let commissioner kill us and they went to the school of nursing in Agbor. Ordinarily, nobody will make trouble.”
A call made to the leadership of the association revealed some disparities in the statement of the commissioner, hence the association said: “We are ready for him. This time we will not leave him. Let him continue telling lies to the governor and blackmailing us. Everybody knows the truth.
“The committee he is saying he set up, it was after he has inaugurated the committee that he gave a letter to our office. The letter came to our office in the night when we had closed from the office. So, I don’t know all these he is saying.
“It is a known fact that in every meeting where government and union meet to resolve issues, a memorandum of understanding that everybody is signed by all parties showing terms of agreement. Let him produce such documents with NANNM signatories.
“Most of his meetings are to blackmail us and shout at us. So, there was no meeting. He did not call us for a meeting but he called us severally to warn us. He is feeling we are women, he can always oppress and bully. But this time we are saying No, enough of tactics”