News The African Way

MDCAN to ASUU: Labour Minister Never Favoured Us, We Protected Our Members’ Rights

 

The Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital Sokoto chapter of the Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (UDUTH-MDCAN), has told the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that members of the union were not favoured by the minister of Labour, Chris Ngige in anyway.

ASUU had issued a press statement titled: “Attempt To Further Polarise and Sectionalise ASUU, through Selective and Bias Payment of Salary to Selected Professional Medical Members of ASUU UDUS by the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige”, claimed that Ngige was biased in paying selected professional medical members salary.

Responding in a statement by the Chairman, Dr Baba Jibrin and Secretary Dr Ibrahim Ango of MDCAN and made available to newsmen on Friday, said the minister’s gesture was not a favour.

According to the statement, “The College of Health Sciences, UDUS is the only fully accredited institution for training medical doctors in the former Sokoto State comprising of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States.

“Any disruption of medical training will further worsen the already acute shortage of medical doctors within the sub region.”

MDCAN stressed that it was in “realizing this emergency situation in the sub region worsened by emerging public health threats, that the medical lecturers in UDUS decided to continue the academic activities during the ASUU strike to save our healthcare from total collapse.

“To this end, the UDUS medical lecturers agreed to conduct lectures and examinations during the period of the strike.”

The statement added that in the need to protect the interests and rights of its members, the union wrote to the minister to ensure payment of their salaries.

“In line with the provisions of the labour act, we wrote and sought the intervention of the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity to ensure payment of our salaries. The Minister having carefully reviewed our submission and that of the university management, obliged.

“This is not an act of favoritism as alleged by the ASUU UDUS branch leadership in their press statement.

“The ASUU UDUS branch, as an association, is expected to protect the interest of all her members and appreciate the differences or peculiarities of medical education.

“The ASUU can legitimately fight for its lawful rights without trampling on the rights of others. The MDCAN is often compelled to step in to protect the rights of her members who are also University staff,” MDCAN stated.

READ THE STATEMENT BELOW:

The MDCAN UDUTH chapter has noted once again with dismay the recent press statement issued out by the ASUU-UDUS Branch on Wednesday 2nd of November 2022 calling to question the integrity of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. (Sen) Chris Ngige, the Vice Chancellor of UDUS and the Provost of the College of Health Sciences, UDUS in carrying out their lawful duties.
“It has become necessary to set the records straight for the benefit of the general public, to protect the validity of the degrees of our students and for posterity. We strenuously dissociate ourselves from the said statement and hereby wish to state the facts as they are.

1. The ASUU embarked on a strike on 14th February 2022 whilst students were in session.
2. Medical students in UDUS were in the final stages of their postings and being prepared for their examinations.
3. These postings were briefly disrupted but due to the University’s understanding of the peculiarities of medical education and practice and the belief by medical lecturers that this critical sector cannot withstand these disruptions; the College was encouraged to proceed with outstanding postings which culminated in the conduct of examinations for students, including the final year students.
4. The Honorable Minister Labour, Employment and Productivity alluded to this in a press briefing he gave on 14th of July 2022 and ASUU-UDUS Branch contradicted the Minister despite being fully aware of the conduct of these examinations.
5. The MDCAN had to clarify the true position of things to the Minister that the postings and examinations of the students took place.
6. The University administration went further to officially confirm that the medical lecturers indeed performed their academic duties and this was communicated to the Minister in writing.
7. The Chairman MDCAN UDUTH Sokoto has not, either privately or publicly denied the fact that the postings and examinations for the students were conducted by the medical lecturers.
8. The ASUU-UDUS Branch Chairman is aware of all of the above.

We are all aware that Nigeria is facing the worst brain drain in her history. Nigeria today has a ratio of doctor to patient 1:10,000 as against the recommended 1:600. The few doctors left are experiencing the worst burnout in recent history.

The College of Health Sciences, UDUS is the only fully accredited institution for training medical doctors in the former Sokoto State comprising of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States. Any disruption of medical training will further worsen the already acute shortage of medical doctors within the sub region.

Realizing this emergency situation in the sub region worsened by emerging public health threats, the medical lecturers in UDUS decided to continue the academic activities during the ASUU strike to save our healthcare from total collapse. To this end, the UDUS medical lecturers agreed to conduct lectures and examinations during the period of the strike.

In line with the provisions of the labour act, we wrote and sought the intervention of the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity to ensure payment of our salaries. The Minister having carefully reviewed our submission and that of the university management, obliged. This is not an act of favoritism as alleged by the ASUU UDUS branch leadership in their press statement.

The ASUU UDUS branch, as an association, is expected to protect the interest of all her members and appreciate the differences or peculiarities of medical education. The ASUU can legitimately fight for its lawful rights without trampling on the rights of others. The MDCAN is often compelled to step in to protect the rights of her members who are also University staff.

We hope this response has put the issues in their proper perspective.
Thank you.
Chairman, Dr Baba Jibrin and Secretary Dr Ibrahim Ango

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