Connect with us

NIGERIA

COVID-19 hazard allowance: 33 states fail to pay as 854 doctors, nurses test positive

Published

on

No fewer than 33 states have yet to begin the implementation of the new hazard allowance for resident doctors, despite their risk of contracting  COVID-19.

The Secretary of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, Dr Bilqis Mohammed, listed states that had started paying the allowance as  Lagos, Ogun, Nasarawa and Enugu.

But there was confusion over the payment of the hazard allowance in Ogun State. Contrary to the claim of the national body, the NARD in the state-owned Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital, Sagamu said its members were not being paid hazard allowance.

But the Enugu State branch of the association confirmed that its members had started receiving the allowance.

Also on Tuesday,   the number of nurses and resident doctors, who had contracted COVID-19, rose to 854.

The NARD secretary said while   319 resident doctors had contracted COVID-19,  14 of them had died of the virus.

The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives said 535 of its members had contracted the deadly virus.

Recall that the  Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnibe Mamora, had, on April 27 at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said the Federal Government had approved a special incentive which included hazard allowance, insurance and tax rebates for health workers.

Mamora said, “The Federal Government agreed to shelve the payment of the existing N5,000 hazard allowance, which had been in existence since 1991. In its place, a special COVlD-19 hazard and inducement allowance of 50 per cent of the consolidated basic salary is to be paid to all health workers in all the Federal Government teaching hospitals and federal medical centres and her designated COVlD-19 centres and primary health care centres to last for the first three months in the first instance.

“Forty per cent of consolidated basic salary would be paid as special COVlD-19 hazard and inducement allowance to health workers at special non-public hospitals and clinics in the federal ministries, departments and agencies for same three months’ period.”

Resident doctors had in June embarked on a strike to protest the non-implementation of the hazard allowance despite the agreement they signed with the Federal Government.

On Saturday, the NARD gave the government an August 17 deadline to meet its demand.

The NARD National President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, in an interview, said it was unfortunate that the Federal Government tricked resident doctors to call off their recent strike with the hope that the hazard allowance would be paid.

He said, “The Federal Government paid two months allowance during the strike.  Some of our members got it. Some did not get it. Immediately we called off the strike, they stopped the payment of the allowance.

“We are even more concerned about the Federal Government because we know if they start paying, the states would obey too.”

Most of our members still being paid N5,000 hazard allowance – Association

Giving further explanations, the NARD Publicity Secretary, Dr Stanley  Egbogu, said “The Majority of the states still pay  N5,000 hazard allowance. States like Abia are still owing doctors 16 months’ salaries.”

What we get is below FG’s recommendation – Enugu resident doctors

In Enugu State, medical doctors employed the state government have started receiving hazard medical allowance.

The General Secretary of the ARD in the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital, Dr Chukwunoso Ofonere, confirmed the payment to one of our correspondents in a telephone conversation.

Although Ofonere said the state government started the hazard allowance payment about three months ago, he regretted that the payment was below the Federal Government’s recommendation.

He said, “Yes, ARD ESUT receives hazard allowance, but not according to the Federal Government’s recommendation. The Federal Government recommended  50 per cent of basic salary as hazard allowance.

“That is what we should receive, but we’re receiving 25 per cent, which is half of what the Federal Government is paying. But notwithstanding, the Enugu State Government is one of the states governments that are paying hazard allowance.”

Ofonere noted that the hazard allowance was being paid to all health workers in the state.

What we have received is not hazard allowance – Ogun doctors

On its part, the ARD at the OOUTH   said it had yet to receive hazard allowance.

The  Secretary of the ARD  at the OOUTH, Dr Tope Osundara disclosed this on Tuesday while responding to an enquiry from one of our correspondents on whether resident doctors had started receiving the allowance or not.

Osundara said the NARD members had only collected 300 per cent of the former N5,000 hazard allowance, which he said was N15,000.

He said what the association requested was 50 per cent of the consolidated basic salary.

He said, “Fifty per cent of the consolidated basic salary is the hazard allowance we requested, but the government is paying N15,000 naira which is 300 per cent of the initial 5,000 naira hazard allowance they were paying.

“Government hasn’t started the implementation of the 50 per cent of consolidated basic salary. They haven’t been paying any doctor in Ogun State.

“The hazard allowance we have received so far is just 300 per cent. We haven’t received  anything other than that.”

We have started paying it, Ogun govt insists

But the state government, which spoke through the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Communications,  Remmy Hazzan, said it had commenced the payment  of new hazard allowance for all medical workers.

Hazzan said Governor Dapo Abiodun’s administration met N5,000 hazard allowance when it assumed office and increased to N15,000 which is  300 per cent .

He, however, said the new agitation of the resident doctors might force the government to go back to the drawing board.

535 nurses contract COVID-19

In a related development, the President of the  National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Abdulrafiu Adeniji, said out of 1,350 nurses tested for COVID-19, 535 were confirmed positive.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NIGERIA

FG, labour meet Thursday over electricity, fuel hike

Published

on

The Federal Government will on Thursday meet again with the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress on the threat by the organised labour to proceed on an indefinite strike and protest over the hike in electricity tariffs and fuel pump price.

The FG is expected to unfold its palliative plans during the parley which would hold at the Banquet hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, disclosed the meeting date in an email on Wednesday.

It read, “The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige will be hosting a meeting with the Organised Labour. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 24, 2020, and the venue is the Banquet hall, Presidential Villa, by 3pm.”

The FG and the unions had met penultimate Tuesday but the dialogue ended in a deadlock following the failure of the government to reverse the price increase or offer palliatives to cushion the effects on the workers.

The NLC and TUC subsequently declared strike and protest scheduled to commence from Tuesday.

Both unions said they would collaborate to execute the industrial action for maximum effect.

Rising from a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the National Executive Council of the NLC comprising the chairpersons of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory endorsed the decision earlier taken by the Central Working Committee of the Congress on the strike last Wednesday.

The CWC had handed down a two-week ultimatum to the FG to reverse the price hike or face industrial action.

The TUC had also mobilized its affiliate members to participate in the proposed civil disobedience.

Continue Reading

NIGERIA

Truck drivers sue AGF, IGP, state goverments over tax

Published

on

Heavy Duty and Haulage Transport Association of Nigeria has filed a suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking that the excessive taxes imposed on their members across the country should be stopped.

In the suit filed on Tuesday and marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1198/2020, the plaintiff sought an order compelling the relevant authorities sued as part of the 42 defendants to put an end to the alleged excessive roadblocks and collection of taxes, levies, or fees from their members.

The Attorney- General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, are part of the 42 defendants in the suit.

The rest of the defendants are the Nigeria Association of Agricultural Produce Dealers, the 36 state governments through their respective Attorneys-General, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, and the National Freight Hauliers Association.

The plaintiff, through its lawyer, Mr Abel Ozioko, urged the court to determine if, by the provisions of items 59, 62(a), and 63 of Part 1 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and Sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies Act, the states and local governments were not prohibited from mounting roadblocks for the purposes of tax collection.

The association of tanker drivers attached to the suit as an exhibit newspaper publications showing how it had decried the extortion and harassment of its members on the highways.

It attributed the rising food crises in the country to the difficulty faced by its members in conveying food to the various parts of the country.

The association, therefore, sought among others, a declaration by the court, that the defendants were by the provisions of Sections 2 (2) and 3 of the Taxes and Levies Act, prohibited from mounting roadblocks in any part of the country for the purpose of collecting any form of tax, levy or fee from heavy-duty vehicles and haulage drivers.

It sought, “A declaration that by Section 2 (2) and (3) of the Taxes and Levies Act, the defendants are not empowered to collect any form of taxes, levies or fees from heavy-duty vehicles and haulage drivers on any federal highway or federal trunk roads in Nigeria.

“A declaration that the association is entitled to monitor the trucks of its members transporting goods and produce on several highways in Nigeria, to ensure their compliance with all traffic regulations and to avoid diversion of their trucks.”

It also urged the court to issue an order restraining the defendants or their agents from imposing multiple taxations on its members or further stopping or hindering them in any part of the country.

Continue Reading

NIGERIA

EFCC arraigns ex-poly director for N27m contract scam in Anambra

Published

on

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arraigned a former Director of Physical Planning, and currently Senior Lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, Pius Ezeokafor before Justice O. Ezeoke of the State High Court sitting in Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.

He was arraigned on Tuesday, on three counts bordering on obtaining money by false pretence and gratification to the tune of N27 million.

One of the charges read, “That you, Arc. Pius Ugochukwu Ezeokafor sometime between the year 2011 and 2012 at Oko, Aguata Local Government Area within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Anambra State, did commit felony to wit: with intent to defraud, obtained by false pretence the sum of N27m from one Emerson Associates Ltd. and Dr Okechukwu Enemuo (being Managing Director of Emerson Associates Limited), when you represented to them that you would help them get a contract of N1 billion upon payment of facilitation fee, which pretence you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence.”

A statement by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said the defendant allegedly met the petitioners on site at the polytechnic where they were executing two construction contracts and offered to use his office as director of physical planning to swing the contract for them if they would pay him N27m facilitation fee.

“After receiving the payment, the defendant neither facilitated the promised contract nor refund their money.

“Upon arraignment, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the three counts preferred against him by the EFCC,” the statement said.

It said the prosecution counsel, Fortune Asemebo, asked for a trial date while the defence counsel, Lucius Ogbuagu moved a motion for the bail of the defendant.

Justice Ezeoke, after hearing from both counsel, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N10m with one surety in like sum who must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.

The surety must be recommended by a legal practitioner or town union president and must show evidence of tax clearance for the past three years.

The court adjourned the matter till October 14, 21, and November 5 for trial.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Recent Posts

SignatureTV Trending

Copyright © 2020 Signature TV Communications