Nurses in Delta state under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) may take to the street at the nearest tick of clock in expression of their dissatisfaction towards the Delta State Government.
The nurses are agitating following what they described as ‘patronizing patience’ by their union leadership towards the government, a source disclosed.
The emerging faction has passed a ‘no confidence vote on the leadership of the union when they described as ‘fast losing relevance’ as far as the matter on ground was concerned.
They are calling on the governor to give urgent heed to their position or see the health sector in Delta State crumble beneath his feet.
The strike action earlier suspended was put on hold following intervention from the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
“However, too much patience by the leadership of our union is making us look weak and as it stands we are fast losing our respect on the negotiation table.” The source said.
The association embarked on strike last year in protest over the appointment of a level 14 officer as Director of Nursing Services (DNS) in the state Ministry of Health.
The nurses’ grievance is that there are other senior nurses who are higher than the nurse appointed.
The nurses said a grade level 14 Nursing Officer is not a Director of Nursing (DNS) but a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO).
“There are level 15 and 16 officers who are senior to her and could be in that position. It is out of place for a junior nurse to become director, and making policies for all categories of nurses in various levels of health care in Delta state.”
“We are demanding that the most senior nurse be placed on that position,” one of the executive members said.
“We cannot fathom the reason for the appointment of a junior nurse as Director Of Nursing Services (DNS), if not for tribal sentiments of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led government. The source stated.
The source said, the suspended strike followed series of meetings with the commissioner for health, Dr. Ononye Mordi.
“Several appeals for him to see reason did not yield meaningful result as he kept saying that all the nurses appointed before this time were all juniors. This is not true as DNS Osanekwu was appointed on GL 15, Ugbanaka was wrongly appointed by Dr. Ononye Mordi which led to a union protest which he paid deaf ears to.”
“The commissioner of health has also said that Nurses employed by the Ministry of Health and those whose services were transferred to the ministry and deployed to schools are no longer staff of the ministry. The nurses see this as ridiculous. Hence, the nurses resolved to embark on the strike to press home their demands,” another nurse said.
But after much entreaty from concerned stakeholders including executives of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the intervention of the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, who promised to look into the issue raised, the nurses resolved to suspend the strike for two weeks in December 2020.
The two weeks suspension was to allow space for the governor and the commissioner to correct the anomalies and appoint the right officer as Director of Nursing Services in the state.
The strike started on Thursday December 3, 2020 and was suspended on December 8, 2020 when the nurses were called back to the hospitals.
But following the failure of the state government to make necessary correction after approximately two months of suspension of strike, a crack in the union has resolved to take to the streets again.