Niger State Government said it has approved the recruitment of 1000 health workers to address the issue of a shortage of manpower in the health sector of the state.
The state Governor, Hon. Mohammed Umaru Bago, made this disclosure on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the 2023 State Delegates Conference of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Niger State Council, held at the Nurses Endwell Hall, Minna.
The governor, who was represented at the occasion by his deputy, Comrade Yakubu Garba, also observed that the manpower shortage was not peculiar to the health sector but across all sectors of the state, adding that they were working on recruiting another 2000 workers for other sectors.
He said the remunerations of the health workers to be recruited had already been worked out, hoping that between now and the end of the year, all processes would be concluded and appointment letters would be issued to the successful candidates.
The governor also tasked the health workers with maintaining professionalism, saying their profession was delicate as they were dealing with human lives and urging them to do everything humanly possible to maintain professionalism.
On the issue of brain drain, the governor advised that workers should not just focus on the salary they get but should also think about patriotism through their service to the state.
While commending the outgoing leadership of the state council of NANNM for all it has done to move the association to a greater height, the governor also advised union leaders in the state to always recognise their veterans, adding that if they utilise the mentorship of their senior colleagues, it will take them to great heights.
The state commissioner for secondary and tertiary health, who was the guest of honour at the occasion, Dr. Tukur Bello, described the nurses and midwives as the nucleus of the healthcare system in the state, on which every segment of the health sector relies.
He explained that the creation of the ministries of primary healthcare and secondary and tertiary health was done to make the job of health workers in the state easier and not for the purpose of competition, thereby calling for synergy between workers of both ministries.
In her remarks at the occasion, the National Treasurer of the association, Mercy Laraba Lenka, said the Niger Council of the association was dear to the heart of the national body because it has never given them a cause to worry about.
She observed that nurses and midwives were the heart of the health sector, and without them, hospitals would just remain as the structures they are, urging the state government to address the issue of manpower shortages.
Earlier in her welcome address, the state chairperson of the association, Comrade Anna Simon, said when they came into office four years ago, they came with the vision of a quality healthcare delivery system and the improvement of members welfare, saying the journey was rough but with resilience and dedication they were able to steer through.
She gave her stewardship and declared some of the achievements under her leadership, which include the purchase of three utility vehicles, the payment of the contributions of over 100 retired members of the association to the tune of about N312 million, and educational support to some members to get B.Sc. nursing qualification, among other achievements.
She also appreciated the governor's interest in transforming the Shiroro Hotel complex into the IBB University Teaching Hospital, as well as the old secretariat into the College of Nursing Sciences.
There were also goodwill messages from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and other industrial unions present.
Chief Judge of Niger State, Justice Halima Ibrahim Abdulmalik, has disclosed that some courts in Niger State are operating in rented accommodation while others are in dilapidated condition.
She revealed that already, the Izom Magistrate Court had partially collapsed, attributing the trends to insufficient allocation of funds to execute capital projects in the state judiciary.
Speaking at the Special Court Session to mark the 2023/2024 Legal Year, which took place at the High Court Complex in Minna, Justice Halima explained that the monthly allocations released to the state judiciary were grossly inadequate to take care of their needs.
According to her, it was from the allocations that "we pay for the judges' rents, national and international conferences, and carry out capital projects" adding that "the High Court complex is in dire need of upgrading by way of reconstruction, rehabilitation, and re-building.".
She stated that the Ninth State Assembly had passed into law the Harmonisation of Conditions of Service for Magistrates, Sharia Court Judges, State Counsels, Draughtsmen, and Other Connected Purposes, requesting Governor Umaru Bago to give directives for the full implementation of the law.
Justice Halima described as worrisome the manner in which magistrates commuted in public transport to and from their offices, according to the Chief Judge, which was undignifying and constituted imminent danger to their well-being.
"This brings me to the unfortunate situation confronting three retired Chief Judges of the State, namely: Justice Ahmed Bima, Justice Mohammed Aliyu Mayaki, and Justice Aisha Lami Bwari.
"Throughout their tenures as Chief Judges of the State, neither Justice Bima nor Justice Mayaki were given an official vehicle, and none of the three retired Chief Judges were given a retirement home as required by law", she lamented.
Speaking at the occasion, Niger State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Nasiru Muazu, observed that the Nigerian criminal justice system in general, like many others, faced a shortage of resources.
He noted that inadequate funding, overcrowded correctional centres, and a shortage of legal professionals, particularly from the public bar, were responsible for the ineffective implementation of the administration of criminal justice.