FG fails to pay airport health workers COVID-19 allowances

Indications have merged on how the Federal Government has refused to pay the hazard allowances of health workers of Port Health Services who risked their lives working at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, and a few others at the headquarters of the health agency in Abuja.

According to information made available to Nigerian Tribune, the health workers who were on duty at Lagos Airport throughout the period of COVID-19 lockdown and were promised to be paid three months hazard allowances by the Federal Government are yet to be paid even when their colleagues in other locations such as maritime, border posts and other airports across the country who later joined them on duty have since been paid their full hazard allowances.

It was gathered that only six out of the 73 health workers in Lagos airport were paid while three at the Abuja headquarters of the agency are also yet to be paid their own allowances months after their colleagues in other stations have been paid.

The source who spoke under anonymity said: “We were surprised to hear through a memo that some of our colleagues in Abuja and Lagos Airport have not been paid the COVID-19 hazard allowances, two months after we had gotten ours.

“I was shocked to know that out of the 73 health workers on the nominal roll in Murtala Muhammed Airport, only six of them have so far been paid. We sympathize with those Lagos people because they carried the major burdens of the primary screening of international passengers to prevent the spread of coronavirus through the airport. They risked their lives and those of their families members during the period of the COVID-19.

“Lagos airport, we all know, is the busiest, the port health personnel there are always over stretched whenever there is any pandemic. I believe those in Lagos Airport should be the one to be taken care of first whenever allowances are to be paid”.

Another source which spoke with our correspondent at the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja also regretted the development. The source which also confirmed that only six of the 73 health workers in Lagos Airport have so far been paid two months out of the promised three months COVID-19 hazard allowance, however, said only one person in the headquarters is yet to be paid the hazard allowance. The source which lamented the delay at paying the allowance to the Lagos staff noted that the delay may dampen the morale of the health workers considering the risks they were confronted with during the peak of COVID-19 lockdown and the stress it brought on them and their families.

“I am  aware that only six of 73 of our colleagues in Lagos Airport have been paid the COVID-19 hazard allowances. We can’t just understand what is causing the delay.

“It is however not true that some staffers in Abuja have not been paid. I can assure you only one person is yet to be paid the allowance in Abuja. And that person is a  woman in the headquarters. I am sure she would soon be paid. But the issue of the remaining 67 health workers in Lagos Airport who are yet to be paid, gives me serious concern. The delay should attract the attention of the management,” the source lamented.

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