Mobile screening team of the Edo State COVID-19 response on Tuesday, June 30, staged a protest in Benin city over the state government’s refusal to pay their two months allowances.
The protesters blocked the entrance leading to the premises of the state Hospital Management Board thereby preventing movement in and out of the compound.
The screening team which comprises medical doctors, health personnel, contact tracers, data collectors among others, was initiated to trace people who have had contacts with COVID-19 patients, all in a bid to ramp up testing in the state.
The Edo state COVID-19 response team led by Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki earlier set up the mobile screening with a target to screen and test 500,000 and 15,000 persons, respectively.
But to their greatest surprise after working for two months they received a WhatsApp message from the Incident Manager COVID-19 mobile screening exercise, Andrew Obi, disengaging them from their duties without due payment of monthly allowances.
Speaking on behalf of the ad-hoc staff, Ojei Emmanuel said they have been treated with lack of pity and compassion.
According to him, he (Andrew Obi) sent us a message without showing his face and that is not a credible act by any person.
“I come from a distance, I pay N600 on a daily basis for transport fare, and I have been doing that for 61 days.
“We just came in today to find out that we have been relieved of the job and we have not been paid for two months. We have 26 groups containing about eight persons per group. There are group leaders in each group; there are doctors.
“Though it was 31 days, we still agree to be paid 90,000 from the outset not 93,000. So, why we are being owed, we don’t know, why we are being relieved of the job, we still also do not know; all we want is for them to pay what is due to us,” he added.
Another who identified himself as Philip said, “Some of us have tested positive in the line of duty, they even gave us empty mifi and we use our money to buy data. They have been telling us to be patient but noting has been done about it.
“Many of us can not even hug our children at home. This is inhumane and should be addressed.
Effort to speak with the the state Commissioner for health was dashed as he was stopped from speaking to journalists on the issue when newsmen met him at the office of the Deputy Governor of the state with the promise that the Deputy Governor, who is the head of technical committee.
The Deputy Governor did not, however, attend to journalists after much waiting, rather his CPS, Musa Ebomhiane shut newsmen out from meeting him.
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