Protesting workers of the Ministry of Health were on Tuesday assured by The Federal Government that their grievances were being addressed and they will soon begin seeing results.

The assurance came from Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Head of Service of the Federation.

She told the works who were protesting at the Federal Secretariat that a committee had been constituted by her office to study their demands and make necessary recommendations.

The protest began around 10am Tuesday morning at the Federal Ministry of Health.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the workers were acting under the aegis of the Federal Civil Service Senior Staff Union.

The protest which was to demand the redeployment of their Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Amina Shamaki was reported to be very peaceful.

The complaints of the workers against the Permanent Secretary touched on abuse of office and high handedness, among other things.

According to NAN, the protesters carried placards which read: “Awarding contracts without due process’’, “Bribing FMoH workers with N5,000 to cover her corrupt acts’’, “Directors of FMoH refuse to obey eight years tenure policy by taking government to court’’, “PS FMoH is abusing govt office’’ and “Dr. Shamaki please leave FMoH’’.

Addressing the protesters, Mrs. Winifred said: “What I have seen here this morning has really surprised me. Two weeks ago, a family meeting was held that resulted in the formation of a sub-committee to study your grievances.

“I believe that you ought to have allowed the sub-committee to finish its assignment.

“The issue of your Permanent Secretary coming to the office with security aides is not out of place because all top government functionaries, including Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executives of parastatal agencies are entitled to security details.

“I was also almost prevented from coming into the Federal Secretariat by some people ringing bells, but anyhow reason prevailed,’’

The speech ended shortly due to the Head of Service’s anger at the protesting workers who kept on interrupting her and were obviously not interested in what she had to say.

Mr. Abba Hassan, Chairman of the Federal Ministry of Health chapter of the union, calmed tempers by urging his colleagues to listen to government.

He said part of the grievances of his members was the alleged high handedness and abuse of office by the Permanent Secretary. He also advised government to accelerate action on the issue.

The Ministry of Health is yet to officially react to the development. However, NAN reported that normalcy has returned to the ministry as many workers were seen in their various offices.

Author: Ope Adedeji