Nurses in Delta State, under the aegis of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, have protested against the state government over the “counter-productive, stringent and unfavourable policies”.
They have also called on Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State, to call the Commissioner of Health, Mordi Ononye, to order.
The nurses, numbering more than 200 from the 25 local government areas of the state, stormed the premises of the state local government service commission on Friday, to protest the casualisation of nurses, stating that it is against the rules of labour to casualise nurses and pay them stipends.
The nurses demanded the immediate reversal of “unfavourable policies” and called for a stop to the executive secretaries functioning as coordinators of the public health centres.
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as: ‘Commissioner for Health, What Did We Do to Deserve This Treatment?’, ‘Review the Appointment of Executive Secretaries’, ‘Let the Executive Secretaries Stop Signing Vouchers of PHC Departments; They are Staff of the State Government’, ‘Executive Secretaries, Stop Oppressing Nurses; ‘Our Rights Have Been Taken Away from Us’, among others.
Speaking on behalf of the protesting nurses, the state secretary of the association, Frank Okoh, said: “We have written several letters but nobody is listening to us. If we remain like this there will be crisis. We are being oppressed at different levels. We are expressing our fears over the manner the one-room policy is being implemented. Nurses in the state are being relegated to the background as the executive secretaries have taken over the PHCs in the councils.”
While demanding a reversal of the existing order, the nurses insisted that the executive secretaries hands off the administration of the primary health centres in the council areas, as well as a review of the office of the executive secretaries, relocation of the executive secretaries from the local government secretariats a stop to the harassment of nurses in the state.
Addressing the nurses, chairman of the Local Government Service Commission, Olumami Oyibo, promised to look into all the issues raised. He also pledged to pass on their message to the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, for appropriate action.