NLC pickets health ministry, wants whistleblowers protected

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Monday in Abuja called for enactment of the law that would protect whistle blowers in the country.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, made the call when the union picketed the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the union took the action to protest non-removal of Angela Uwakem, as the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Owerri.

The workers had on January 26 picketed the ministry for same reason after Ms. Uwakem was allegedly indicted of corrupt practices.

The union also called for the reinstatement of 200 workers sacked for blowing the whistle of the alleged corrupt practices.

According to him, if such law is in place whistleblowers will be protected and encouraged.

“No worker that has actually given himself to serve as a whistleblower should be allowed to be punished.

“We canvass for enactment of a law to protect whistle blowers. They should not only to be rewarded, but they should also be protected.

“We have seen in many cases of corruption, where whistleblowers and witnesses in those cases were killed.

“So, we will not allow a situation where they are killed or victimised,” he said.

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health
Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health

Mr. Wabba said that the reinstatement of Mr. Uwakem, who had been arraigned by the EFCC on an 18-count charge, was a violation of the Public Service Rule.

“The whistle blowers that are supposed to testify in court are the people that have their names removed from the pay voucher.

“A lot of impunity is going on. So, we must continue to defend these whistle blowers.

“It should be noted that it was through the assistant of these whistle blowers that 9.8 million dollars was recovered recently,” he said.

He further stated that the picketing of the ministry of health would be suspended for three days to allow for negotiation between the union and the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Binta Bello.

“We are having an interface with the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, and I think the ministry has made some progress, ” he said.

“She has actually stated with strong commitment that the rule of law would be respected and that we should allow for peace to drive the process.

“So with that commitment, we have decided that the action would be suspended for three days to allow the leadership of the union to report back to us on any progress made.

“We have also received a word of assurance from the Head of Service that the right thing will be done,” he added.

Josiah Biobelemoye, President, Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MHWUN), commended the Permanent Secretary of the ministry for her intervention.

Mr. Biobelemoye said that the permanent secretary had given assurance to the union that its demand would be given due consideration.

(NAN)


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