by Chi Ibe
The President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, ARD, Dr. Wale Ojediran, has called on Nigerian policy makers and stakeholders in the health sector to intervene in the crisis as members of his association join Lagos State doctors in a ‘warning’ strike today.
Resulting from an ignored warning issued on Tuesday, the resident doctors’ strike is in protest against the sacking of 788 medical doctors by the Lagos State Government. Speaking to journalists at a press conference held at the University College Hospital, Ibadan on Wednesday, May 30, Ojediran said that the sacking of the doctors in the “employ of Lagos State Government had assumed a national and unpleasant dimension”.
“The situation is actually becoming a national crisis. The issue of payment of Consolidated Medical Salary Structure began in September, 2009 when the Federal Government of Nigeria approved its payment.”
The doctors signed an agreement in March 2011 which stipulated that the CONMESS salary should be paid in full without compression to all doctors; that allowances will be classified as non-taxable; thus, no taxes will be deducted and that further welfare packages will be developed to improve working condition for all healthcare providers in the state,” Ojediran said.
He added that all efforts by the doctors to ensure that their demands were met were abortive thereby leading to the strike. “The government actually violated all the contents of the agreement by failing to implement the payment of full CONMESS by removing teaching allowance for some cadres of staff, introducing heavy taxes on the allowances of the doctors and demotion of all doctors in its employ by steps.”
Following the Ordinary General Meeting of NARD in Port Harcourt, the association gave a 14-day ultimatum from Monday (May 28) to prevail on the Lagos State Government to recall the doctors and implement earlier agreements. Ojediran said if that fails then preparations will be made for an indefinite nationwide strike.
For now, this warning strike is billed to hold from May 31 to Saturday, June 2.
Source: The Punch