Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said Federal Government should not be blamed for the ongoing strike by the National Association of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU).
He stated this at the opening of a conciliation meeting with JOHESU leaders, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole and relevant government agencies on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister deplored media reports credited to National Chairman of JOHESU, Mr Biobeleye Josiah, that the Federal Government should be blamed for the union’s strike.
He also decried allegation by the union that he travelled on the day government officials were expected to meet with leaders of the striking workers.
According to Ngige, as a minister, I am fully aware of the sanctity of my responsibilities as a servant and it is wrong for a servant to be maligned or brutalized for no just cause.
“We are ministers; we are servants and we are serving you. How can you vilify your servant, or start beating him or killing him when there is no offence?
“No, you cannot do so. You cannot brutalise me in the media for nothing. Even these ministers here, you cannot brutalise them, because they are serving the nation.
“It is not in the best interest of fair labour practices. It is unconscionable.
“So, I take your explanations and it is good you explained because the impression you gave in the media is grossly erroneous.
“We invited you to a meeting on Thursday, September 21, 2017, your union failed to turn up and later requested for Friday, September 22, 2017.
“I already had an official engagement at Owerri and the Health Minister was also involved in a different function,” he said.