By James, Michael Igiri
University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) contract staff, on Monday staged a peaceful protested over non-payment of their six months salary arrears.
Comprising cleaners, security guards and potters, the contract staff demonstration led to gridlock on Dobi road connecting the hospital with the main town as both doctors and patients were left stranded.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that, protesters carried placards with different inscriptions such as, “Pay us our money’’, “Are we not Nigerians,’’ “some of us are widows, “our children are out of school’’, and so on.
Speaking to newsmen, leader of the group, Mr Leonard Mbanile, said after series of talks with the hospital management, nothing positive had emerged as promises made on payment of the back-load of the salaries had not been kept.
“This is why we have embarked on this peaceful demonstration to show our grievances over unpaid six months’ salary arrears.
“We have not been paid for over six months and some of us can no longer eat or take our children to school.
“The salary is just N15, 000 per month and yet they find it difficult to pay the little stipend to their workers.
“We will give them a one day ultimatum after which the gate will remain locked until they pay all the salaries and allowances,’’ he said.
Reacting to the development, the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC), Dr Nicholas Baamlong said efforts were under way to clear the back-load of salary arrears owed.
He said the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital had gone to the Federal Ministry of Health to fast track the payment of the back-load of salaries, but could not make any commitment when asked about a given timeline for the payment of the arrears, saying it was up to the Ministry and how long it would take the paperwork to manifest.
“It is not about ultimatum, but peaceful dialogue, I can’t assure you what will be done between now and the next twenty four hours until we dialogue.
“Our CMD has gone to the Ministry to see how he can fast track the payment of the salaries.
“Their services are on contract basis and very important to the hospital but the fault is not from our management,’’ he said.