by Chi Ibe
The stand-off between Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola and the state doctors like dough with yeast is spreading. Medical doctors in Oyo State have announced plans to embark on a strike in solidarity with their Lagos colleagues who were sacked by the Lagos State government. The Oyo doctors demand that their sacked colleagues be reinstated.
The Guardian reports that at a media briefing held at the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) House in Yemetu, the doctors criticized Fashola’s actions against the doctors, which they described as “hasty, insensitive, and thoughtless.” The Oyo doctors said in a statement: “This struggle must be taken beyond the realm of a mere administrative strike, they must engage the state government in direct social struggle. This will mean a mass campaign among (sic) the masses of Lagos through educative materials and mass rallies.” They further urged Lagosians to rise up to the challenge and not leave the ‘battle for the NMA alone’. According to the association, Lagos residents must link the struggle with a call for massive improvement in health facilities in the state.
The Oyo state NMA Chairperson, Prof. Millicent Obajimi led the briefing which was also attended by the association’s secretary, Dr. Happy Adedapo and publicity secretary, Dr. Jeremiah Simire.
In a separate statement to the media, NMA Abuja chapter condemned the ‘politicisation’ of the Lagos State government and doctors’ industrial dispute, especially by ‘elders’ of the state. At the weekend in Abuja, President of NMA Abuja, Dr. Nicholas Baamlong, said that the “non-interference and insensitivity of respected individuals or groups” has made resolution of the lingering dispute more cumbersome.
Dr. Baamlong said that statements credited to the national publicity secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Lai Mohammed in which where he accused the Lagos doctors of flouting industrial laws by embarking on strike, was “a doubtful sincerity of purpose and integrity of a political jobber.” The NMA Abuja president expressed concern that the state government had remained “consistently adamant and unperturbed” by increasing deaths and sicknesses elicited by the crisis.
But not all are in support of these new threats to the living standards and health of the Lagos people. The Lagos League of Political Parties (LLPP) has cautioned the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) for their threat to go on a solidarity strike over the sacked Lagos doctors. The Chairman of LLPP, Udoka Udeogaranya, said while the group encouraged all civilised vehicles of reinstating the sacked doctors “if their employer still wanted their services”, it condemned foreign unions’ attempts to interfere in issues not connected to them.
Baamlong lamented the “graveyard silence of the Lagos State House of Assembly, the traditional institution, leaders of thought and some critically placed individuals over this negligence to ensure the health and safety of Lagosians.”
Source: The Guardian