The Federal Government Monday passionately pleaded to the striking Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) workers to suspend its nationwide strike.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire made the appeal on Monday during a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.
While noting that the call is necessary in view of the pandemic, the Minister asked the striking workers to sheathe their sword and come to the negotiation table.
This is contrary to the war stance of the Minister of Labor, Dr. Chris Ngige himself a Medical Doctor who threatened to proscribe JOHESU saying the Federal Government will no more condone any group of people kicking the Government about.
JOHESU in turn vowed to pressfor their demands even if Government will haul them into jail.
But the Health Minister said: “I use this opportunity to appeal to JOHESU to suspend their industrial action and go into negotiation,” he said.
“The position of the Ministry of Health is that strikes by healthcare workers jeopardize the lives of citizens, especially at such times of global health emergencies as now.
“Nigeria needs the service of all our health workers to control the spread of COVID-19. Issues around allowances are multi-sectorial and have always been saved with negotiations no matter how long it took.”
The minister’s plea comes hours after JOHESU President, Dr. Biobelomoye Josiah, asked the federal government to attend to its demands with the same seriousness is attached to those of the National Association of Resident Doctors.
The residents’ doctors, under NARD, also downed tools last week but called it off days after coming to an agreement with federal government representatives.
JOHESU, which is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations in the country, said its demands merited such urgent attention, too.