…Money not for arrears, but for none regular staff salaries-CMD

Dr. Emeka Ogah

Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki(AE-FUTHA), chapter has disclosed why doctors embarked on there days warning strike.

The strike commenced on Monday, January 20, and our correspondent who visited the hospital reported that the strike has paralyzed activities at the hospital as only the Consultants are on duty.

The President of the Association, Dr. Osuagwu Philip, on Tuesday told newsmen in Abakaliki that they were supposed to have received the arrears of what they called shortfall on their salary on December 2019 when the money was released to the management of AE-FUTHA.

He maintained that N50 million was released by the federal government for the payment and that they have made efforts for the management of the hospital led by the Chief Medical Director, Uche Ogah to honor their peaceful approach to the issue, to know no avail.

He noted that other tertiary institutions in the Southeast have paid their Doctors the arrears which was released last year while the Management of AE-FUTHA has not.

He pointed out that if nothing was done after the 3days warning strike, that they will embarked on 21days strike, then indefinite strike.

According to Ogah: “The current strike we embarked is because of the money that we are being owed which is arrears of what we called salary shortfalls was supposed to be paid to us last December. N50million was released for this payment and we have tried to negotiate with management to pay this money , they refused.

”We are not alone in this, the other south east hospitals like UNTH, FMC Owerri, FMC Umuahia, National Orthopedic hospital and other hospitals in Nigeria received money, the same money and they all paid. It has been a challenged to us and the same thing happened in 2018 when N100million was also paid to our hospital for this purpose”.

”However, even after management agreed that they will pay this money following change of regime, they immediately said they won’t pay and eventually they did not pay. So, that is the situation we find ourselves again in December, 2019 when this N50million was paid”.

“This strike was supposed to happen last two weeks, we are supposed to go on this strike last two weeks. However, the board Chairman through the former Chief Medical Director(CMD) came and asked us to allow them to intervene for two weeks and that’s why we gave two weeks which expired on 20th January, 2020”.

”We met with the CMD on this 20th January, 2020 to see if he can see reasons why he should pay this money, he refused and that is why the congress took a decision to go on this strike and the resolution is that if after this three-day warning strike and management did not pay this money, that 21-days from now, we will be going on an indefinite strike”.

”This has been communicated to the leadership of our National body, we have also communicated to south east caucus leaders and we will also communicate to necessary authorities; security outfits about this strike and then wait”.

”So, this strike is total and we are not offering any service. The only people that will be working in this hospital are the consultants. It involves everybody under the association of Resident Doctors that in AE-FETHA.
“We appeal to the masses to understand the challenges we face. Our welfare has been neglected for too long and we tried to show this understanding and we keep working even under this stressful conditions. We all know how endemic Lassa Fever is in the hospital. But despite all that we put in to ensure that this hospital keep working, our efforts are not recognized”.
In his reaction, the CMD, Dr Ogah said that management is not owing the resident doctors shortfall arrears, rather what he discribed as Skipping arrears.

He reiterated that the N50m they claimed was released by the federal government for the payment of their arrears was for the salaries of none regular staff.

“No money was released to the hospital by the federal government as regarding their expectations.
“I explained to them they still went ahead on the strike. The cash was for salaries of none regular staff, that’s what was released to the hospital. We are doing our best to ensure that patients are adequately taken care of despite the on going strike.
“Skipping arrears was not paid that’s why they are on strike. The hospital is not closed down. I have reported to the board” he noted.

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