By Felicia Imohimi
The Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) says none of its members was involved in an auto crash over the weekend in Benin City.
The union described as false and mischievous speculations that some of its members were involved in a road accident.
This is contained in a statement signed by JOHESU’s National Secretary, Mrs Florence Ekpebor, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
The statement identified those involved in the accident “outsourced staff working as cleaners in University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH)’’.
It stated that most of the victims were from companies belonging to the Chief Medical Director of UBTH and Managing Directors of Federal Government owned hospitals.
The statement further described the rumour as a cheap blackmail by medical doctors for cheap publicity and propaganda.
“We want to draw the attention of our members across the country that no JOHESU member was involved in the road traffic accident that occurred in Benin, Edo State.
“However, our hearts go to the victims of the road crash as we join in wishing them a quick recovery.
“We also advise NMA to respect life by desisting from propaganda that disrespects the sanctity of man, for the purposes of recruiting public sympathy especially through falsehood and rumours,” it said.
The union also described the purported court injunction ordering JOHESU to stop its on-going strike by some publications as rumour.
Meanwhile, the union said it was not unaware of the alleged machination and propaganda by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) that were bent on thwarting the on-going nationwide action.
“JOHESU leadership feels and empathises with members of the public on the pains they are going through.
“However, we want to inform the general public that if it is true that there is court order to stop the strike, we are not aware neither has JOHESU been served with any court processes or order to stop the on-going nationwide strike.
“This is just a figment of the imagination of mischief makers, busy bodies and interlopers.
“Members of JOHESU do not live in the moon; they are Nigerians who have a sacred duty to provide health services to the sick and the wounded.
“Therefore, they also have mothers, fathers, friends, sons, daughters, cousins, among others, who require medical services at this point in time, but the ugly situation brought about by the insensitivity of the Ministry of Health for fairness in the health sector has brought us to this ugly situation,’’ the statement read in part.
It specifically noted that the union after several meetings had collapsed was left with no choice but to continue with its demands for a better health system where efficiency, manpower development, fairness and better remuneration would be the corner stone of the health system.
JOHESU appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the Ministers of Labour and Health to do the needful by bringing these unwanted circumstances to an end through the implementation of signed agreements and MoU between the Federal Government and the union.
“The leadership of JOHESU therefore insists that no amount of intimidation, arm-twisting and harassment will cow us from pursuing our constitutional and fundamental rights to protest and strike.
“Therefore, our members across the federation have been advised to stand firm and fight for the good of our country.
“The Ministry of Health should be reminded that all over the world no mistreated worker can put in his best,” it stated.
The union however assured the federal government of its determination and desires of members to support this administration for better healthcare services to all Nigerians.