Dozens of midwives in Lagos State yesterday marched to the Lagos State Governor’s office and Lagos State House of Assembly complex, protesting government’s refusal to pay their outstanding 20 months’ salary. According to the women, the arrears include 12 months of 2013 and eight months in 2015.

The midwives armed themselves with placards on which they inscribed messages such as “Reduced maternal and child mortality, midwife is the answer, pay us our allowances; MSS midwives demand payment of salaries, January to December 2013 and January to August 2015; Governor Ambode, pay MSS allowances; MSS midwives, no pay, no work, Governor Ambode please pay our salaries, Governor Ambode please help,” among others.

The midwives argued that they have left the comfort of their homes for the sake of saving lives, but government has neglected them by reneging on agreement to pay their salaries.

Speaking on behalf of the workers, Mrs. Beatrice Iloegbunam, said they were employed by the Federal Government in 2010 to work under the Millennium Development Goal, MDG, so as to help reduce maternal and child mortality rate in the villages. She argued that their salaries are paid by the three tiers of government in a ratio of FG N40,000, state N37,500, while local governments beefs it up with stipends according to their capabilities.

She said the state government did not pay them until 2014 after their demonstration and that government skipped payment for 2013 with some months also missing in 2014. “Most of us were posted into rural areas and we have to travel about 119 kilometres to get to where we work. I travel 119 kilometres to get to where I work, in rural setting.

There is no electricity and we did deliveries, touching lives to ensure mortality rate is reduced in the villages and for us to do that, nobody has come out to tell us sorry we have no money.

So, we are fed up, hence we came here,” she said. In their letter, “Appeal for payment of the MSS salary arrears for 2013 and January 2015 till date, signed by Mrs. Beatrice Ajayi, the midwives appealed to Lagos State governor to pay them all the arrears. “We wish to appeal to you sir, to use your good offices to pay our outstanding salary arrears from January to December 2013 and January 2015 till date.

“We are midwives employed under the Midwives Service Scheme, MSS, which commenced in February 2010. We were deployed to primary healthcare centres of Lagos State to reach out and sustain grassroots healthcare. “We have worked tirelessly in ensuring the reduction of maternal and child mortality and morbidity rate in Lagos State at the detriment of our health and lives without salary.

“Please, help our pathetic situation and arise to look into the oppressive neglect of our wellbeing. We are finding it difficult to transport ourselves to our various places of work and to meet our needs. We made several appeals to the last administration,” she said in the letter.

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