The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said the Lagos state government acted responsibly and in accordance with the state’s Civil/Public service rules in sacking the striking doctors in its employment.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also accused the petulant doctors of flouting industrial laws by declaring the strike that led to their sack without issuing the necessary notice to their employers.
It said they were also guilty of serious misconduct by refusing to answer the queries issued to them to explain their Absence Without Leave from work, adding that the consequences of their action are clearly spelt out in the Civil Service Rules, and that no responsible employer will condone such egregious action from its employees.
”We have waited this long to comment on this issue because we were studying all the details of the situation that led to the strike and the sack. Having concluded our painstaking investigation, we can say without equivocation that the government acted responsibly and in accordance with the necessary rules and regulations.
”Contrary to the misinformation being peddled by some mischievous individuals and groups, the strike that led to the doctors’ strike has nothing to do with their conditions of service, but is related to the desire of a group that wants to continue to hold the government and the people to ransom through incessant strikes over every frivolous issue.
”We say this because the Lagos state government has met all the demands of the doctors during their earlier stike: payment of the so-called Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) which has been accommodated in the approved salary structures for the state, even when the federal government that negotiated it did not consult the state government; reinstatement of Dr. Ibrahim Olaifa and the reactivation of the deduction and remittance of the check-off dues to the Medical Guild. Complaints on high taxation cannot be handled by the state government because taxation is a federal government issue.
”The latest strike by the doctors is based on totally new and unreasonable demands by the doctors, who are asking the state government to pay them far in excess of what was contained in CONMESS! This in a state where, unknown to many, some consultants are already earning more than 800,000 naira a month!
”It is on the basis of this totally new and unrealistic demands that the the doctors gave a mere 24-hour notice to embark on an three-day warning strike, and gave no notice at all to embark on their now ill-fated indefinite strike, without worrying about the impact of ther action on the public.
”In order words, there is nothing altruistic about the doctors’ strike. It is all about them and them alone. They do not care whether or not the state government can meet overhead or development costs, or whether the hospitals where they work can even be adequately eqipped. What matters is for the ever-elastic demands of the seemingly-insatiable doctors to be met once they are issued. This is unrealistic and untenable, and the doctors must be told in clear terms,” ACN said.
The party said it is cheap and uncharitable for the PDP to try to cash in on a serious issue by using such term as ‘fascist’ to describe the doctors’ sack, and challenged the party to say how much the PDP states pay the doctors in their employ and how many doctors each of them has employed.
”There is no need to politicise the issues on ground, because innocent Nigerians, irrespective of their party affiliation, suffer greatly, with some even losing their lives, every time doctors fling away their stethoscopes in the name of a strike.
What is expected is for every responsible citizen and group to prevail on the doctors, who have been so remunerated, to always consider their impact of their incessant strikes on their patients,” it said.