Abia Govt Yet To Pay 19 Months’ Salary Arrears To Our Members – Resident Doctors

The Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

 

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has berated the Abia State Government over its alleged failure to pay the 19 months’ salary arrears to members.

NARD in a communique issued on Wednesday after its extraordinary National Executive Council meeting held at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital described the situation as disappointing.

“The NEC was disappointed but not surprised at the Governor of Abia State for failing to offset the nineteen (19) months’ salary arrears being owed our members in his state which he promised to pay over 23 days ago,” the communique partly read.

READ ALSO: Striking Doctors Refuse To Sign New MoU With FG After Six-Hour Meeting

The doctors also “frowned at the actions of the governors of Imo, Ekiti and Ondo states who are still owing our members 10 months, 6 months and 4 months respectively.”

It also decried a situation whereby 114 House Officers were yet to be paid their one to six months salaries.

Despite the unanimous disapproval and calling for the withdrawal of the circular removing the HOs from the scheme of service, the association described as surprising a situation whereby the Lagos State Government would go ahead to implement the same circular in the state.

On the hazard allowance issued to medical practitioners, the resident doctors said the N5,000 sum given to doctors, nurses and other health care workers is paltry.

“NEC recognized the public outcry occasioned by the ongoing industrial action. The Association is however constrained as the families of the 19 members who died during the COVID-19 outbreak while providing health care services are yet to get their death in service insurance.

“The NEC noted that despite the ongoing strike action of twenty-three (23) days, her members in twenty-three (23) centers under the GIFMIS Platform are yet to be migrated and captured on the IPPIS Platform with payment of an outstanding backlog of 3-4  months.

“They observed with dismay that despite the express instructions given by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the FMOH to sidestep all technicalities in resolving the issues of dispute between us and the government, not one item on the table has been resolved,” the communique stated further.

See the full communique issued by the resident doctors below: 

 

NARD/SG/2020-2021/250821/                                                                                    25th August 2021

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF AN EXTRAORDINARY NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (E-NEC) MEETING OF THE NIGERIAN ASSOCIATION OF RESIDENT DOCTORS (NARD) HELD AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BENIN TEACHING HOSPITAL ON THE 25TH OF AUGUST 2021

PREAMBLE

The Extraordinary National Executive Council (E-NEC) Meeting of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) held at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) on the 25th of August 2021 at 1:00 pm. It was both physical and virtual. The meeting had in attendance over 60 member centres of NARD, to discuss the issues bedeviling her members.

OBSERVATION

  1. The NEC appreciated the NOC for their effort concerning the welfare of members.
  2. The NEC noted the nonchalant attitude of appointees of the Government to the suffering of Nigerian Doctors.
  3. The NEC noted that despite the ongoing strike action of twenty-three (23) days, her members in twenty-three (23) centres under the GIFMIS Platform are yet to be migrated and captured on the IPPIS Platform with payment of an outstanding backlog of 3-4 months.
  4. They observed with dismay that despite the express instructions given by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the FMOH to side step all technicalities in resolving the issues of dispute between us and the government, not one item on the table has been resolved.
  5. The NEC was also embarrassed by the misinterpretation of the court ruling by the Federal Ministry of Labour, thereby misinforming the public that the National industrial court had ordered that the strike should suspended.
  6. The NEC noted that despite the health emergencies (COVID-19, Cholera and possibly Lassa Fever as we approach the dry season) ongoing in the Country, the supervising Minister of Health is yet to convoke an emergency meeting of the National Council on Health to look into the issues, in keeping with the National Health Act.
  7. The NEC painfully observed that issues bedeviling most of our State Tertiary Health Institutions are left unattended to despite the ongoing strike action. They noted that these issues can be solved through the National Council on Health.
  8. The NEC was disappointed but not surprised at the Governor of Abia State for failing to offset the nineteen (19) months salary arrears being owed our members in his state which he promised to pay over 23 days ago. They also frown at the actions of the governors of Imo, Ekiti and Ondo states who are still owing our members 10 months, 6 months and 4 months respectively.
  9. The NEC noted that one-hundred and fourteen (114) House Officers are yet to be paid their one (1) to six (6) months salaries.
  10. It was surprising to the NEC that despite the unanimous disapproval and call for the withdrawal of the circular removing the HOs from the scheme of service, the Lagos state government has gone ahead to implement same circular in the state.
  11. The NEC reiterated her displeasure over the paltry five thousand naira (5000) Hazard allowance given to Doctors, Nurses and other Health Care workers.
  12. NEC recognized the public outcry occasioned by the ongoing industrial action. The Association is however constrained as the families of the 19 members who died during the COVID-19 outbreak while providing health care services are yet to get their death in service insurance.

RESOLUTION

  1. After critical appraisal of the actions of both federal and state Government on all the issues affecting the welfare of our members as observed above and the perpetual insincerity from Government as evidence by the reckless exparte injunctions sought by the government and the ambiguity in the interpretation of the ruling of the National industrial court of Nigeria, NICN, the NEC unanimously agreed via vote to sustain the ongoing industrial action until her demands are met as contained in the MOA signed more than 140 days ago and the recent MOU signed between the government and NMA.
  2. The NEC reiterated her position that the circular from the head of service removing house officers from the scheme of service must be withdrawn
  3. The NEC demanded that an emergency meeting of the National Council on health be convoked to discuss these health emergencies and to fashion out ways to universally resolve all the issues affecting the state health institutions in the country.

APPRECIATION

On behalf of the entire 16,000 members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), the President and the National Officers committee express their heartfelt gratitude to the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for understanding the plight of the Resident Doctors.

Long live NARD

Long live NMA

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria

We Will Enforce Ban On Open Grazing – Abia Govt

File photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

 

Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has said that his administration is working closely with other southern states to tackle insecurity in the region, adding that the ban on open grazing would be enforced.

The ban on open grazing was part of the resolutions of the governors of the southern region after a meeting held last week in Asaba, Delta State.

Ikpeazu who spoke on Saturday during a zoom meeting organized by the Abia Media Forum said the state government would prioritise the needs of the people in terms of infrastructure development of the state.

We are tackling criminal herdsmen from other parts of the country and sub-region. We are enforcing the law,” he said.

“We are bringing together stakeholders in the security sector to help us evaluate the template we have; this will enable us to tackle the security challenges we are faced with. Our target is to create security architecture robust enough to secure our state.”

He also said his administration took proactive measures by enacting a bill through the State Assembly to ban open grazing in the state which has helped the state in addressing the issue of herders and farmers clashes.

READ ALSO: Workers’ Sack: NLC To Shut Down Kaduna On Monday

The Abia governor called for the decentralisation of the nation’s security architecture and the creation of state police to enable states to tackle their peculiar challenges.

While reiterating the need to address the issue of perceived injustice in the country, Ikpeazu said there were complaints of injustice, lop-sidedness in appointments, lack of consideration of the feelings of those occupying the Nigerian territory in critical decision making of the country amongst many others.

Speaking further, the governor emphasised the need for inclusiveness in the appointment of security personnel, lamenting that the southeast doesn’t have any representative in the Security Council meeting.

He added, “There is a need to have an all-inclusive government in order to assuage the feelings of those agitating.”

“I want to be remembered as someone who came and tackled intractable issues; I want to be remembered as the Governor who tackled unworkable roads like Faulks, Ama Ikonne, and the governor who added to the road infrastructural stock of the state.

“Most of the roads we constructed are still standing and would stand the test of time. We have affected positively all facets of state infrastructure: education, health care, road, agriculture, SME, amongst many others. Our aim is to leave the state better than we met it.”

Regional Security: Why South-East Governors Chose Ebube Agu – Ikpeazu

 

Hours after the Southeast region launched its own joint security outfit codenamed EBUBE AGU, Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has explained why the governors took the decision.

Ikpeazu who spoke from Umuahia, the Abia State capital during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, said the new security outfit would oversee and monitor the activities of vigilante groups in the region.

“Today we have come together to synergise and see how best we can protect lives and properties of citizens within this geopolitical zone,” he said.

“Security situation across Nigeria as it is today is dynamic. We are just trying to respond to our peculiar circumstances in the southeast.”

When asked if the new security outfit would bear arms and wear uniforms, Governor Ikpeazu neither confirmed nor denied it.

The Abia governor explained that he and his colleagues from Anambra, Imo, Ebonyi and Enugu would cooperate to ensure that operatives of EBUBE AGU would be properly equipped.

READ ALSO: ‘EBUBE AGU’: South-East Governors Establish New Outfit To Tackle Rising Unrest

“Ebube Agu would be a security outfit both in name, purpose and action. It will be properly equipped. I want to assure you that all the states in the southeast already has various vigilante outfits.

“In Abia, we call our own ‘the Homeland Security outfit.’ In Enugu, it is called the Forest Guards. But we want to call for a harmonised synergised system of action to be able to compare notes to be able to set up digital platforms that can respond to communication challenges,” he added.

A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu
A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

 

Speaking further, Ikpeazu said the new outfit would be rural-based, adding “it is also going to be intelligence-based.

The governor also spoke on his administration’s strides in Abia, noting that the state since his assumption into office in 2015 “remains one of the safest states in Nigeria and we have statistics to show for that.

On his political future in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), under whose platform he was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019, Ikpeazu reiterated his commitment to remain in the party.

His remarks come shortly after governors from the South East established a security outfit called EBUBE AGU as part of plans to checkmate the rising unrest in the region, stemming from an increase in criminal activities.

According to a communique put out by governors of the Southeast, the agency is to oversee and monitor the activities of vigilante groups in the region.

Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum, Dave Umahi who read the statement after a meeting in Imo State, noted that the headquarters of EBUBE AGU security outfit will be in Enugu state.

Ikpeazu Receives COVID -19 Vaccine Jab, Vaccination Begins In Abia

Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, takes his first COVID-19 vaccine jab at the Government House in Umuahia on March 11, 2021.

 

Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, on Thursday received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The personal physician to the governor, Dr Mike Enyinnaya, administered the vaccine to him at the Government House in Umuahia, the state capital.

In his remarks after receiving the vaccine, the governor encouraged all residents of the state within the recommended age bracket to avail themselves of the opportunity of being vaccinated.

He took the jab after he took delivery of the official consignment of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to Abia State from the Federal Government.

“I’m happy to announce that I received a shot of the AstraZeneca vaccination against COVID-19 today in Umuahia.

“I was vaccinated alongside some other top government officials paving the way for other Abians (state residents) to also be inoculated against the virus,” the governor said on his Twitter handle.

He added, “I assure (you) that the vaccine is safe and beneficial in the continued fight against coronavirus. I encourage Abians to make themselves available for the vaccination at the nearest centre.”

 

Governor Ikpeazu took the vaccine following the assurance of the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of Abia State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chinagozie Adindu, that the vaccine was safe for use.

Dr Adindu explained that after the first dose, those vaccinated would receive another shot in the next two months between eight and 12 weeks.

He said the quantity would be enough for the frontline health workers, and other health workers in the state – both in public and private hospitals, as well as members of the State COVID-19 Inter-Ministerial Task Force and law enforcement agencies, among others.

The healthcare agency chief noted that the second batch of the vaccines would target the vulnerable and those that have underlining ailments and the elderly.

He added that the state government has a target of ensuring that at least 40 per cent of the population in Abia was vaccinated by the end of the year.

We Are Not Interested In Profiling Hausas Or Fulanis But Criminal Elements, Says Abia Gov

A boy stands while his cattle is grazing near some farms in the outskirts of Sokoto State. PHOTO: AFP

 

Abia State governor Okezie Ikpeazu says the state government is not interested in profiling any tribe but clamping down on criminal elements violating open grazing law in the state.

Ikpeazu disclosed this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily. He also explained why open grazing is banned in the state.

“Abia State was one of the first states that came out with legislation banning open grazing and our argument is that Abia State is perhaps the smallest state apart from Lagos in land area in Nigeria and we have a lot of minerals and crude oil beneath the soil.

READ ALSO: Sultan Meets Cattle Breeders Association Over Farmers-Herders Crisis

“God did not endow us with sufficient land to permit open grazing and leaving our land for cattle grazing.

“Our interest is not to generally profile the Hausas or the Fulanis, we are interested in the criminal elements,” Ikpeazu said.

According to the governor, the problem of farmer-herders clashes can be solved after proper diagnosis and when the Federal, State and local governments come up with a joint policy to tackle the problem.

“Nigeria is supposed to do a proper diagnosis of the problem and treat it accordingly. We are not diagnosing the problem properly; we are just diverting the attention of serious-minded people in this country.

“We have people who are interested in creating anarchy and confusion so that opportunist anarchists like ISIS who are interested in destabilising the country will come in.

“The Federal government down to the local government should come on one page and have a policy dealing with criminal elements wherever they may be found irrespective of the state of origin or background.”

It will be recalled that Southeast governors recently announced that they have banned open grazing and the movement of cows by foot in the region in a bid to tackle the security challenges confronting the zone.

Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi disclosed this on Monday during the inauguration of the All Progressives Congress in Abakaliki.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo Election: ‘Some Igbos Are Restless Characters,’ Abia Governor Condemns Factional Leadership

Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has reacted to the controversy trailing the recently conducted election of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, describing some Igbos as restless characters.

Ikpeazu, who spoke from Umuahia during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, stated this on Monday, condemning the existence of factional leadership of the Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation.

“Some Igbos are restless characters. They can try to throw up all kinds of things within the polity to see how they can either truncate or have it their way.

“The beauty of leadership and succession is the ability of those that could not have the ability to lead at that time to be able to queue behind the person that is leading now.

“The good thing is that Professor Obiozor (President-Elect) is not from Chad or Sudan, he is an Igbo man. You cannot be more Igbo that Professor Obiozor.”

READ ALSO: Wike Is One Of The Most Controversial Politicians In Nigeria – Okorocha

When asked what he meant by restless, the governor explained that the Igbos are found everywhere even in Sambisa forest, adding that the easterners are known to be hardworking.

The newly elected President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Professor George Obiozor speaks in Owerri, the Imo State capital following his emergence on January 10, 2021.

 

The Abia governor asked the Igbo people to drum support for the newly elected President-General of the Ohanaze Ndigbo, noting that the move would lead to development in the south-east region.

A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu
A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

 

Speaking further, Governor Ikpeazu said the emergence of Professor Obiozor is linked to the survival of the Igbos.

On whether the Igbo umbrella body has the ability to promote unity in the south-east following the crisis that rocked the emergence John Nwodo and Professor Obiozor in 2017 and 2021 respectively, the governor replied in the affirmative.

“Oh yes, there is no question about that. If you take a retrospective look at the leadership and track record of Chief John Nwodo from then up till now, you will notice that the Igbos for the first time in many years are more cohesive now than before.

“We want to see how can explore to the fullest our potential and capacities to make meaning contributions to the unity of Nigeria,” the governor added.

Ikpeazu’s remarks come 24 hours after Nigeria’s ex-Ambassador to the United States, Professor George Obiozor emerged the President-General of the Ohanaze Ndigbo.

He scored 304 votes to beat two other contestants to emerge the winner in the exercise held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium Owerri.

Following his emergence, the outgoing Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the body, Chief Chuks Ibegbu lamented that the election process was faulty and lacked proper democratic rules of engagement.

Ibegbu, who was one of the leading contestants for the post of Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, regretted that he purchased the nomination form at an unacceptable sum of N300,000.

Abia Governor Suspends Chief Of Staff, Agbazuere

A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu
A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

 

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has suspended his Chief of Staff, ACB Agbazuere from office.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Sunday by the Secretary to the State Government, Barrister Chris Ezem.

“Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed the immediate suspension from office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr ACB Agbazuere,” he said.

The governor ordered the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Alozie Odoemelam, to perform the duties of the office of Chief of Staff until further notice.

This development might not be unconnected with a viral video where Agbazuere was seen spraying cash on Prophet Chukwuemeka Odumeje, popularly known as Indaboski.

The date the video was shot is unknown but it appears to have been in Agbazuere’s office where the suspended aide was dancing.

Abia Govt Relaxes Curfew

A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu
A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

 

The Abia State Government has relaxed the curfew imposed on some cities after hoodlums hijacked the #EndSARS protest in the state.

According to a statement issued on Saturday by the Commissioner for Information, John Kalu, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu directed that the curfew in the state be relaxed to now take effect from 8 am to 5 pm from Sunday.

While asking residents of the state to go about their normal businesses within the relaxation window, the governor warned that they should return back home during the new curfew time.

“We wish to inform members of the public that the planned relaxation of curfew in the state will now be from 8 am-5 pm starting from Sunday, 25th October 2020,” the statement partly read.

“Members of the public are free to move and go about their normal businesses within the relaxation window but ensure they are back home during the new curfew time of 5 pm to 8 am daily.”

The Commissioner, however, said that workers on essential duties including medical and paramedical personnel, journalists, men of fire service etc are exempted from the curfew.

Extra-Judical Killing: Ikpeazu Visits Victim’s Family, Vows To Serve Justice On Culprit

A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu
A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

 

Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has visited the family of the victim of extra-judicial killing in the state.

The victim, Onyedikachi Nwogu, was allegedly shot dead at close range by personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in front of his compound on September 8.

Arriving the victim’s residence on Friday evening in Umuokpo Village, Obingwa Local Government Area of the state, Governor Ikpeazu commiserated with the family on the loss of their son.

The governor expressed his deepest condolences to the family, adding that Nwogu was killed for no justifiable reason.

He however gave the assurance that the indicted security operative will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

Ikpeazu reiterated the commitment of the state government in taking care of the deceased wife and mother, especially the little children, whom he assured will be seen through school.

While commending the community members for resisting the temptation of lynching the officer, the governor asked the Chairman of Obingwa LGA to bring the widow of the deceased, the mother and his brother to see him for further discussions.

Channels Television learned the suspect, Inspector Robinson Otobong Abel was attached to the Akwa Ibom State Command of the NSCDC.

He was said to be escorting an expatriate and insisted on driving through the compound of the deceased on account of the bad state of the Federal road.

The deceased resisted the attempt to drive through his compound, whereupon the officer allegedly shot him at close range, killing him instantly.

Abia Governor, Ikpeazu, Recovers From COVID-19

A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu
A file photo of Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

 

Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has recovered from COVID-19, a government spokesperson said on Saturday.

According to a statement signed by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, Ikpeazu submitted samples on Thursday to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Thursday.

On Friday, the results of his tests came out negative.

READ ALSO: Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, Tests Positive For COVID-19

“Governor Ikpeazu is therefore deemed free of the virus according to the extant guidelines of NCDC and the World Health Organization (WHO),” the statement said.

Ikpeazu had been confirmed as COVID-19 positive on June 8 and proceeded into isolation.

According to the NCDC, Abia has recorded 382 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Although only 172 cases are active, three persons have died in the state as a result of the virus.

Tribunal Affirms Ikpeazu’s Election As Abia Governor

The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia on Friday upheld the victory of Okezie Ikpeazu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as the governor of Abia State.

The tribunal also dismissed the petition filed by Alex Otti of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).

Chairman of the panel, Justice Lekan Ogumonye while delivering a unanimous judgement held that the petitioner failed to prove his allegations of over-voting and non compliance with the electoral act in the conduct of the election.

 

Otti, Ogar Reject Result Of Abia Governorship Election, Say It’s A ‘Sham’

 

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Dr. Alex Otti and that of the All Progressive Congress, Dr. Uche Ogar in Abia State, have rejected the result of the governorship election.

At a joint press conference in Umuahia, the state capital, shortly after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the results on Sunday, both candidates described the election as a ‘sham’.

The Returning Officer, Professor Damian Ozurumba, had declared Ikpeazu winner of the poll after he secured 261,127 votes, more than double the 99, 574 votes polled by Ogar and 64,366 votes polled by Otti.

Otti alleged that INEC once again, breached its guidelines, adding that the results do not represent the true wishes of the people.

Read Also: PDP’s Okezie Ikpeazu Re-Elected As Abia Governor

He further stated that any result that does not agree with the card readers will not be accepted.

Both candidates, therefore, gave INEC the next 24 hours to cancel the election, adding that both parties are willing to present themselves when the Commission is ready to conduct a free and fair election in the state.