National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) Wednesday made good its threat to embark on solidarity strike over Lagos State Government’s refusal to recall the 788 sacked doctors.
Elsewhere in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, came a report that about 800 medical doctors in the service of the state government, said they were ready to join forces with their colleagues nationwide to stop the sacking of 788 medical doctors by the Lagos State Government.
However, the oil workers union said it was directing its members to suspend supply of petroleum products to Lagos State, despite several warnings from pressure groups.
An official of NUPENG who confirmed the industrial action to THISDAY yesterday, said the union actually stopped loading petroleum products from the depots since Tuesday.
The official, who do not want his name mentioned, said most filling stations were currently selling the products that were earlier supplied before the directive noting that the effect of the strike would be felt when the products are exhausted.
“I can confirm that the solidarity strike commenced on May 29. Tankers have stopped loading from the depots so petrol stations are currently selling the products that were already supplied to them. It is after they exhaust what they have in the filling stations that the impact of the strike will be felt. The strike is only targeted at Lagos State where doctors have been sacked by the government for no justified reason. It is aim at putting pressure on the state government to recall the sacked doctors unconditionally because an injury to one is an injury to all,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Emmanuel Olukayode Ajewole, noted that the action of the Lagos State Government was callous, ill-advised, poorly orchestrated, anti-democratic and an assault on medical profession.
It was further gathered that NUPENG President, Igwe Achese, gave the directive that the strike should commence on a day the nation celebrated its 13 years of uninterrupted democracy.
However, efforts to reach Achese who just returned from a trip in South Africa proved abortive as he repeatedly refused to pick his calls.
He stressed that Osun State doctors viewed the development as a virus which, if not aggressively managed, would progress into an epidemic which would engulf the health sector and out-rightly decimate especially when it is capable of being shared by all the States with the same political ideology.
Ajewole, who reviewed the impasse from inception to date contended that their colleagues in Lagos State had followed laid down procedure to agitate for their rights, while Lagos State Government has consistently and deliberately embarked on campaign of calumny and intimidation by issuing queries and employ the use of thugs to harass doctors.
He claimed that Governor Babatunde Fashola, who said he was not part of the decision to sack the doctors was tantamount to ambivalent acrimony, adding that when a supposedly progressive government embarks on mass sacking of doctors, not because they committed murder, but seeking a modest improvement in their condition of service is, the progressiveness of such government is doubtful. He also declared their commitment to align with actions of their national body that is expected to meet on Saturday towards the quick resolution of the crisis.
Ajewole urged Governor Rauf Aregbesola, traditional rulers, sons and daughters of Yoruba race to intervene in the crisis to ensure a prompt reinstatement of their colleagues and implementation of the agreement signed by the Lagos State Government.