The striking resident doctors of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH) in Awka, Anambra State, have turned down the minimum wage offer presented to them by the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, insisting on continuing with the indefinite strike they embarked on on May 13, 2019.
Meanwhile, six persons were yesterday feared dead as building at No. 7 Ezenwa Street Onitsha collapsed.
Conveying the governor’s message to the members during its meeting held in Awka, the President of the association, Dr. Obinna Aniagboso, said the governor offered to pay them the newly approved minimum wage which, according to the governor, would amount to N12,000 increment to all the state civil servants as soon as the national guidelines are released.
Aniagboso said the governor, during the meeting with him, expressed dissatisfaction with their pay package, admitting that it was due to low Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the state, noting that the governor promised to revisit resident doctors’ salaries issue in one year time when the IGR may have increased.
The angry doctors, during the meeting, broke into a chant of songs of disagreement. They expressed shock and disappointment at the minimum wage offer, wondering why COOUTH doctors should be neglected for long, insisting that full payment of their salary should commence from April 2019 as agreed to by the government representatives earlier this year.
They maintained that they would no longer continue receiving 40 percent of their salary, noting that they were languishing in penury with no progress in their residency training. The doctors also lamented that many doctors would keep leaving and the hospital could remain stagnant if nothing is done urgently to arrest the situation.
They also condemned what they described as devious tactics and insincerity of the hospital management, as they passed unanimous resolution to continue the indefinite strike until demands were met.
The doctors maintained that the government would pay them the balance of their April salary and continue with the payment of full salary as obtained in other institution.
Meanwhile, six persons were yesterday feared dead as a building at No. 7 Ezenwa Street in Onitsha collapsed.
Eight persons were said to be under the structure when the four-storey building under construction crumbled around 1.45p.m. yesterday.
Eye witnesses said those trapped were six labourers, including the site engineer.
THISDAY gathered that the building is owned by a lawyer whose identity was not disclosed.
Some of the sympathisers blamed the building engineer for allegedly using substandard materials for the construction.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for Onitsha Central Police Station, Ifeanyi Iburu, led a team of security operatives to ensure adequate security of lives and property.
Other rescue teams at the site were Red Cross officers and other security agencies as well as sympathisers and passerby who were also part of those rescuing the remaining six.
One of the trapped persons was said to have been making calls from inside the debris, an indication that some of them might still be alive.
Confirming the incident, the Chairman of Red Cross Society in Anambra State, Prof. Peter Katchy, said the rescued casualties have been taken to the hospital for medical attention.