Federal doctors may join Lagos strike, says NMA

The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) on Friday said that doctors in federal hospitals may join the dismissed Lagos state doctors “on a solidarity strike in support of their colleagues”.

Osahon Enabulele, the national president, told journalists at the NMA secretariat in Lagos that the state chapter of the association has been directed to “explore all options it deems fit”.

“NMA will be convening an emergency meeting soon to review the health crisis in the state, and take a national position,” Mr. Enabulele said.

The body called on the Lagos state government to reverse the sack notices and queries issued to doctors and open themselves up for “sincere and genuine dialogue” with the doctors.

“Nobody forced them to enter into an agreement reached with the doctors on March 24, 2011 to implement Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) in full,” he said.

“They should honestly take responsibility for all that has happened because what has generated the crisis is their inability to keep faithfully to the agreement,” he added.

The state government announced recently that it had sacked about 1,000 doctors who were on strike as a result of the failure of the state to implement fully the CONMESS.

In justifying the sack, Adesegun Ogunlewe, the State’s Head of Service, stated that the doctors were sacked for failing to respond to queries earlier issued to them for going on a three-day warning strike.

A late Thursday evening meeting between the doctors’ national executives and the state government over the health crisis ended in a deadlock.

Mr. Enabulele blamed the deadlock on the state government’s “fixated and vexatious position” to discipline its doctors, adding that Mr. Ogunlewe insisted that the matter was beyond him.

The NMA president also criticized the ongoing forceful eviction of the sacked doctors from staff quarters.

“The eviction is totally rejected by the NMA; it is not in order and it even violates the Tenancy Law,” he said.

In his reaction, Olumuyiwa Odusote, the chairman of the Medical Guild, the umbrella body of doctors employed by the state government, said that the eviction, which started on Wednesday, was enforced by armed police officers.

“The power to forcefully evict tenants resides with the court,” said Mr. Odusote.

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