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FG to review salary structure of doctors, health workers

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The Federal Government has pledged proactive measures to forestall strikes by doctors and other health workers by reviewing the salary structures of medical doctors under the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and Consolidated Health Salary Structure.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige gave the hint during a courtesy visit on him by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Thursday in Abuja.

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The NMA was led by its President , Dr. Uche Ojinmah; Secretary Jude Onyekwere as well as the President of Nigerian Association Medical and Dental Academics( NAMDA) Nosa Orhue among others.

During the meeting, the NMA President catalogued the challenges facing doctors, especially the review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).

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In a statement at the end of the meeting by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Olajide Osundun, the NMA President said: “It is sad to tell you that the most pressing challenge facing Nigerian doctors is the review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure which has been overdue by eight years.

We wrote to our parent ministry of Health on June 5 , 2022, seeking for a meeting , just as other previous national officers of NMA have written since 2014 for the same issue and without result.

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“Recall that it is the 2009 Agreement that yielded CONMESS and we agreed with government that it would be reviewed in five years and that five years was up in 2014 and this 2022 .

Nothing has been done about this . We wrote in June to the Ministry of Health to ask for discussion over this. The meetings they convened were all structured to fail.”

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He regretted the inability of the officials of the Ministry of Health to resolve the lingering issue and therefore appealed to the Minister of Labour to take over the matter and ensure its speedy resolution before the general assembly of the NMA scheduled for the 11th December, 2022.

Commending the Minister for the registration of the National Association of Medical and Dental Academics (NAMDA) which he said “has come to stay and heartily welcome by the NMA,” the association also urged the Minister to help maintain industrial harmony in the essential services where the NMA has jurisdiction.

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“It will be highly appreciated if immediate and urgent actions are expedited by your ministry in addressing the concerns of the members of the NMA and her affiliates, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) as well as the out of court resolution of the dispute between Medical and Dental Doctors in Academics and the Salaries, Income and Wages Commission,” the statement said.

He called for social dialogue brokered by the standing committee, domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, in liaison with the Salaries , Income and Wages Commission , Federal Ministry of Finance to sort the issues prior to presentation to the Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages.

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While responding, the Minister noted that despite the prevailing economic challenges facing the nation, the Federal Government was committed to not just the review of CONMESS but also CONHESS to ensure stability in the nation’s health system.

He said that this trajectory informed his insistence during the recent negotiation with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) SSANU and NASU that any salary review that did not recognise agitations from other sector unions drawing from the federal treasury might be counterproductive.

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He however assured the NMA that the Ministry would swiftly liaise with the Ministry of Health with a view to taking over the matter to ensure an early resolution.

The Minister reminded the NMA , the consequences of the Ministry taking over conciliation of the matter.

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“The bad shape of the economy does not mean the doctors or other health professional should not earn decent wages that can really take them home , so they can take care of their needs as medical practitioners.

“Therefore CONMESS and CONHESS to me, should be reviewed and I have done letter to the Ministry of Health . I have also noted in that instance that we don’t need to have a trade dispute notice before we do the review of these salary structures.

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So , please exercise restraint while this is resolved. My Ministry will do the needful. We are already taking proactive measures to forestall any strike.

“But I hope we are all aware that once my Ministry takes over the matter for conciliation, part of the encumbrances is that you won’t go on strike anymore because the matter has been apprehended in line with section 18 of the Trade Disputes Act. I have no doubt doctors are noble men and would abide by this . We as doctors must obey the labour laws.

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“Of course , we know too that Section 43 of the Trade Disputes Acts on No Work, No Pay is very active now. It was not made by President Buhari or by his Minister . It is the law of the federation enacted in 2004,” the statement added.

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After giving my wife, N100k, she lodged in hotel with her lover for 4days, man tells Court

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Mr Hakeem Olarenwaju has narrated his ordeal to a court, how he gave his wife, N100,000 and she lodged in a hotel with her lover for four days.

To this end, Olarenwaju, has approached Grade A Customary Court, Mapo, Ibadan, Oyo State, seeking that it dissolves the 16-year-old union between him and his wife, Fatima Olarenwaju.

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Hakeem told the court that his wife whom he met as a single parent started misbehaving a few years into their marriage.

The plaintiff stated that he went into marriage with the defendant despite his father’s disapproval of their relationship, and that today he is regretting his action.

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Hakeem explained that Fatima who was initially loving, dedicated and obedient, suddenly changed and became defiant despite allowing her to bring to his house the child from her first marriage.

According to the plaintiff, the defendant constantly denied him sex and rubbed shoulders with him in the house.

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He further stated that she took to leaving home without his knowledge and consent, adding that there were times she travelled without informing him.

Hakeem added that he later found out that she was having an affair with another man whom she sometimes lodged with.

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Fatima, he added, finally moved out of his house.

He thus begged the court, if his prayer of divorce was answered to grant him custody of their two children whom she has failed to be a good example to.

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Fatima was absent in court despite being served court summonses.

Hakeem while giving his evidence said, “I went against my father’s wish and went ahead in 2006 to marry my wife who I met as a single parent.

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“Fatima and I had a blissful marriage despite the criticism from my family and my father in particular.

“She was well behaved and dedicated to me and our children. We were always together and shared each other’s dreams. She was my best friend.

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“I gave her N100,000 to start a business which blossomed and flourished in a short period.

“We were a happy family until my wife started misbehaving in 2010.

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“Fatima cultivated the habit of leaving home without my knowledge and consent and would return home late.

“The more I complained, the worse she became. Fatima would call off my bluff any time I threatened to deal with her.

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” I overlooked her shortcomings and allowed her to bring her daughter by another man to my home. But rather than be thankful for my display of generosity, all I got from her were abuses as a result of her caustic tongue.”

The plaintiff further said, “My lord, my wife is unfaithful to me. She was dating another man while under my roof.

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“She would lie to me that she was going to cater at a party being a caterer, but would go and spend the weekend with her lover.

“Fatima once travelled out of town for four days without informing me. She left no clue about her whereabouts while her phone was switched off.

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“I later learnt she travelled with her lover for those days and this led to a quarrel between us.

“I reported her to her parents and they helped resolved our differences, but Fatima to my chagrin abandoned all her duties in the home.

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“She refused me sex and stopped cooking my food. Her daughter was the one preparing my meals.

“She totally neglected me and refused to have anything to do with me.

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“Fatima finally packed out of my house which was why I came to court.

“My lord, I entreat the court to officially end our marriage and grant me custody of our two children.

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“Fatima’s lifestyle is questionable and as such can’t be a good example to our children.

The court president, Mrs S.M Akintayo, adjourned the case after he has heard the plaintiff and ordered that a fresh hearing notice be served the respondent.

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Truck Kills Road Safety officials on patrol

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By Gloria Ikibah

Two patrol operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps were crushed to death on the Ikot-Ikpene-Aba road on Friday.

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Corps Spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem said that the crash occurred as a result of excessive speed indulged in by the driver of a DAF articulated truck while trying to dodge a pothole along the axis.

“According to preliminary investigation, the fatal crash involved a FRSC Patrol Vehicle and a white coloured truck.

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“The road crash affected a total of eight male adults, out of which two sustained severe injuries, two were killed while the remaining four passengers were rescued without any injuries.

“The injured persons have been taken to Ikot Ekpene General hospital and the dead deposited in the mortuary of the same hospital”, Kazeem stated.

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The Acting Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dauda Biu, decried the incessant knock down and crushing of patrol operatives.

Biu said that the killing of the two officers was part of the recklessness of some drivers who have continuously violated the legally prescribed speed limit.

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He pledged the resolve of the Corps to apprehend perpetrators of the deadly act and make them face the full wrath of the law.

The FRSC boss conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the staff who lost their lives in active service.

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Biu further assured the public of the Corps’ resilience to ensure that the perpetrators of such bad driving culture were forced to face the law.

“We advise motorists to desist from such act by complying with acceptable road safety regulations, as the Corps will not spare anyone engaged in this deadly act of recklessness on the road,” he added.

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Blind teacher In Oyo State Shares His Experience

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A visually impaired teacher and freelance broadcaster, Ayanwale Ayantola, who teaches English Language at the Adeniran Memorial Grammar School, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, and shares his experience.

*Some people with visual impairment had difficult childhoods. Was it the same for you?*

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I can say yes because the impression Nigerians have about people with disabilities is not encouraging. I was not born blind. I lost my sight when I was a SS2 pupil, though I had a visual problem when I was in junior secondary school. I attended Ori-Oke Baptist Primary School, Ogbomoso, and Ori-Oke Community High School, but did not graduate from the school because of the problem I had with my sight. As a JSS2 pupil, I noticed that I could not see clearly. That led me to use recommended glasses. Later, I found it difficult to see the blackboard unless I moved closer. My school principal and some other teachers noticed the problem when my performance dropped because they knew I was a brilliant pupil.

So, they told me to bring my parents to school and when they came, my father explained the challenges I had with my eyes. We later went to Jos, Plateau State, where I had the first surgery. Each of my eyes was operated on three times, but I did not know what the doctors told my dad. However, I was advised not to force myself to read with the eyes but rather to use the level of vision I had left to aid my movement.

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*Did the doctors tell your parents what was wrong with your eyes or why you could not see clearly?*

Yes. I was told I had glaucoma and my father was advised to enrol me in a school for the blind. In 2007, I was enrolled in the Oyo State School for the Blind, Ogbomoso, where I spent about eight months learning Braille and typewriting. I wanted to become a medical doctor and was a science pupil at Ori-Oke Community High School. I was told that I could not continue as a science student, so I became an arts pupil. After learning Braille and typewriting at the school for the blind, I went back to SS1 at Adeniran Memorial Grammar School, Ogbomoso, where I currently work as a teacher.

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*Can you remember the point when you completely lost your sight?*

When I was at the school for the blind, I could see partially and move about to do one or two things. I lost my sight completely in 2006. That was the time I forced my eyes to read printed copies of the materials I used to prepare for examinations organised by the West African Examinations Council. That was against the advice I was given not to read with my eyes. I can remember that on the day I lost my sight, I visited one of my seniors in school. As I tried to enter the class, I hit my forehead on one of the pillars and fainted. That was when I realised that I could no longer see.

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*How did your condition impact your relationship with people in your community?*

Many of my friends left me because they thought I was no longer part of them since I would attend a school for the blind, which was a boarding school. When I graduated from the school, I could not find any of them, because they had moved ahead of me academically, having returned to SS1 due to my condition.

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*How did you qualify as a teacher?*

I attended the Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, and studied English/Visually Impaired Study. I graduated between 2004 and 2005. I found it easy to cope there because of my knowledge of the use of Braille. I could still see partially when I was at the college, so it was not difficult to find me around the school. In fact, I was the one guiding most of the blind students there. But now, people guide me because my sight is completely lost. I also attended the National Teachers Institute.

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*Were you bugged by your inability to attend a university and study Medicine, which was your dream course?*

I felt bad. My life has totally changed. If not for the advice I received, I wanted to commit suicide.

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*Read full story in Punch*

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