By George Odok
Medical Interns on Wednesday disrupted activities at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) over non-payment of their seven months salary arrears.
The Medical Interns comprise house officers (doctors), scientists, medical laboratory scientists, pharmacists, dental therapists, radiologists amongst others, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
NAN reports that more than 150 interns barricaded the entrance gate of the hospital to demand for their seven months salaries.
They lamented that they could no longer accept the excuses for non-payment because of the insincerity of the management.
The protesters carried placard with various inscriptions such as “Where is the N66million?’’; “We are dying of hunger’’; “We can no longer buy sanitary pads’’; “Our landlords are on our necks’’; “Pay us our seven months salaries’’.
NAN reports that the interns, who are trained medical professionals in various fields, will undertake another one year of practical training before they are qualified to take up full employments.
One of the house officers, Mr James Ebri, lamented that they had worked for seven months without payment, alleging that in spite of the fact that they should be paid N18,000, instead of N16,000, they were still being owed.
“Our counterparts in other teaching hospitals in neighbouring states have all received more than 80 per cent of what they were owed but here in Calabar, nothing is forthcoming.
“While we were told that N66million was released by the Federal Government on May 17, nothing has been paid to us.
“We deserve our wages to leave a comfortable life, while discharging our respective duties just like our colleagues in other federal teaching hospitals,” he said.
The protesting interns called on the hospital management to, as a matter of urgency pay them their seven months outstanding salaries.
Reacting, the Chief Medical Director of UCTH, Prof. Ikpeme Ikpeme, told NAN in a telephone interview that the issue of non-payment of their salary was not limited to UCTH interns alone.
“The issue of non-payment of the stipend is not limited to UCTH alone. This is a national issue and we have written to the Federal Government to pay them.
“We are hoping to get a favourable response from the Federal Government as regard their payments. Once the money is released to us, we will pay them accordingly,” he said. (NAN)