The Nigerian Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire has said he is not aware if health workers treating coronavirus patients are being paid hazard allowance.
The minister made the disclosure during a meeting with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 and the leadership of the National Assembly on Thursday, a video published by Channels TV on YouTube shows.
“I am not aware of it, it is a standard job they do every day,” Ehanire said in response to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila’s question on whether the health workers would get a special allowance for combating the virus,
“Because screening is what they do every day.”
Obvious pissed by the minister’s response, the speaker further probed, insisting on a direct answer to his question. But the minister said the health workers are just screening body temperature.
He later acknowledged that he was not aware if the workers would be paid “hazard allowance”.
“It is not enough to say you don’t know, quite honestly. You dropped the ball there,” the speaker told the minister, insisting that he should be abreast of the health workers’ welfare.
To salvage the situation, the secretary to the federal government Boss Mustapha told the meeting that “every aspect” of the welfare of the health workers will be taken care of in a “comprehensive package” that was being prepared by the government.
The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) said on its Twitter handle that the minister’s statement “smirks of recklessness”.
The association said the minister displayed a “gross insensitivity” to the plight of health workers who sacrifice daily and bear risk at the forefront of combating Covid-19.
“We @nannm_nigeria Nigeria demands that @DrEOEhanire and his likes should leave the stage for those who know and who will not “drop the ball” on us,” NANNM said on Twitter.