Dr. Godwin Tijani, Kogi State Branch Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Wednesday described the statement credited to the state government linking their strike to politics as uncharitable and unfounded, saying they were fighting for better conditions of service.
Tijani, in a statement made available to journalists in Lokoja, alleged that the government was working to polarise the union from fighting for their rights.
Recall that Dr. Saka Audu, the state Commissioner for Health, in a media chat with journalists on Tuesday, alleged that the ongoing doctors’ strike in the state had been politicised by NMA.
Audu added that the NMA’s demands from the state government were beyond what the government could meet, which prompted its decision to engage the services of NYSC doctors in the state’s hospitals.
However, Dr. Tijani, the NMA Chairman, denied the allegations by the state government, stressing that the strike was legitimate and not political or influenced by any external force.
Tijani said that the doctors were asking for improved welfare from the same government that doctors had shown understanding by calling off several strikes in spite working without salary for months.
“That same government will now come up to accuse us of being used by politicians; this is surprising and unacceptable.
“The crisis started in December 2016. Several strikes were embarked upon and later suspended with the hope that the government would do the needful but no tangible success made.
“Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed but not honoured by government. The current strike started on January 7, 2018, and we are faced with lots of issues, which include:
“Irregularities in salary payment for doctors, 10 doctors are still owed salary ranging from four to 15 months, gross underpayment of salaries to doctors with some collecting as low as N35,000 per month.
“Others are non-promotion and annual step increment for several years, failure to implement Revised CONMESS, payment of 60 per cent August to December 2017 salary to doctors while implementing 100 percent tax deduction from the same salary.
“Retirement of senior doctors yet to attain the statutory age or year of retirement, implementation of ‘No-work-No-Pay’ policy in the ongoing strike by not paying doctors January 2018 salary.
“In addition, employing NYSC doctors to Secondary and Tertiary Health facilities to replace the striking doctors. These issues keep increasing on a daily basis,” Tijani said.
The chairman added that association believed that the Kogi Government had been given ample time and opportunity to resolve the issues at stake, rather than the false allegation against NMA.
He, however urged the state government to do the needful to salvage the state’s health sector, stressing that doctors were ready to go back to work whenever their demands are met.
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Source: New feed