8th May, 2012
The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has expressed regrets over the turn of events regarding the Lagos doctors’ strike, saying Lagos doctors forced the Lagos State government to do the needful by disengaging their services.
It says that it would be irresponsible of the government to continue to allow itself to be held by the jugular by the striking doctors while the lives of Lagosians are exposed to grave danger as a result of the strike.
In a release in Lagos, signed by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Joe Igbokwe, the party says it feels sad that the intransigent attitude of the doctors led the Lagos State government to wield the big stick but that it is a necessary way of saving the Lagos health sector from collapse which the doctors strike was meant to inflict on it.
While wishing the disengaged doctors the best in their future endeavours, the party says doctors in general should realise the importance of their professional oaths and not subject the interest of their patients to the desire for perks and perquisites, which should be secondary to their calling.
“As a party, we did plead ceaselessly for the doctors to return to their work and attend to the sick while engaging in further negotiations with the government. We did urge them to put their professional oaths above the quest for more comfort and increased privileges. We regret that the doctors neither heeded this nor did they heed the timely and wise counsel of many Nigerians to return to work and allow negotiations to go on.
“When we recall that doctors embarked on a prolonged strike just before the Aril 2011 general elections on the same issues, and that the Lagos State government largely met their demand then, we have every reason to believe that the doctors are pursuing less noble missions that their professional oaths allow.
“Lagos ACN wants it on record that Lagos doctors are perhaps the most well treated all over the country, that Lagos health facilities are the most equipped and most modern in Nigeria, among other indices. Therefore, we have every reason to worry why doctors should resort to strike in Lagos at the drop of a pin and hold the health sector hostage.
” We feel the action the Lagos State government took is in the best interest of the system and will save even the doctors the time to attend to their private clinics, for which many have said, they readily go on strike.”
According to the party, “We want to state that medical profession is a sacred duty, a sacrifice to mankind and a service to God. What the doctors are demanding to justify the strike cannot in anyway be used to justify the loss of a single life and we have said so on several occasions. We feel that what the state government took was a hard decision but it is necessary to send such signals that doctors must apply commonsense on issues that concern life. We feel it is wrong for doctors to leverage on the importance and critical nature of their work to constantly hold the system hostage.
“Lagos ACN regrets that the traditional aim of using industrial disputes as a weapon by workers to achieve their worthy aims has been serially abused by Lagos doctors and their incessant resort to strike over demand for increased remuneration is a disservice to the entire profession.
“We therefore feel the Lagos government is justified in wielding the big stick in this case. We wish the disengaged workers well in their endeavour and urge incoming doctors to ensure they do their work with the highest professional regard to the interest of the entire health sector.”