The Federal Government has resolved to impose sanctions on striking health workers under the auspices of the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP) over what it described as impunity and unsatisfactory conduct of the workers in the course of their strike. Their conduct, government said, has led to the breakdown of law and order in some federal medical institutions. Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Linus Awute, stated this at a media briefing in Abuja, on Tuesday.

The Federal Government specifically warned the striking workers at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State, to retrace their steps, in the interest of peace and harmony. “At the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, the situation has degenerated into the disruption of services, hooliganism and a breakdown of law and order. “Right now NUAHP has put the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, under siege, sacking the MD, the management of the hospital and patients in critical conditions under the care of the hospital. “The unsatisfactory conduct exhibited by the striking health professionals under the aegis of NUAHP has become very embarrassing, in the face of millions of other qualified Nigerian citizens looking for gainful employment out there,” Awute said.

He also noted that, “The ministry is committed to finding a lasting solution to the grievances of the unions, as has been demonstrated by its leadership in the recent invitations to the various branches of the unions. These unions are hereby called to give peace a chance. “Nevertheless, management cannot sit and fold its arms in the face of violence, willful damage of government property and impunity being perpetrated by some misguided members of the unions.

“We are determined to demonstrate positive change by visiting strong sanctions on cases of impunity and unsatisfactory conduct recorded in the course of this strike, using the Public Service Rules, which govern the engagement of the services of staff in the public service domain.” He stated that the ministry would continue to keep open all channels for dialogue, seek peaceful resolutions of knotty issues, “while we continue to appeal to the unions, particularly the FMC Owerri branch of the NUAHP.”

“The national leadership has also been reached once again, with a formal letter, appealing to them to urgently go back to work or vacate the siege of the hospital in their own interest and in the interest of peace and harmony in the hospital,” he said.

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