“Lagosians should rise and prevail on them to go back to work”, it says
The Lagos State Government Wednesday berated its doctors for embarking on a warning strike saying their action was a blackmail aimed at protecting their personal investments in private hospitals which they want to force on the populace.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Raji, who spoke on behalf of the Government in an interview with newsmen, described their demands as unfounded pointing out that the Lagos State Government is the first state government in the country to implement the CONMESS which the doctors are now complaining about.
Raji said the doctors were also demanding that House Officers on grade levels 10 and 12 should be paid teaching allowances, a provision which, according to him, is not part of CONMESS. He added, however, that government told them that if they could provide the evidence that it was part of CONMESS provisions; Government would pay.
“The doctors, from our findings, are just bent on going on strike probably to protect personal investments in their poorly equipped private hospitals, and that is what Lagosians should brace up for. When you complain that somebody who is on Grade Level 15, is not on step 04, that his entry point should be Grade Level 15 step 04, I mean Lagosians are wiser," the Special Adviser said.
Reiterating that the doctors are bent on going ahead with the strike in order to protect their own personal investments, Raji said the Government and people of Lagos would soon see the truth of the doctors’ action as the real reasons for the strike would unfold as time goes on.
On what the Government plans to do to keep the hospitals working while the strike lasts, the Special Adviser disclosed that even within the Medical Guild, there are several doctors who are not going to join in the strike because they are not happy with how the Executive of the Guild called the strike.
He also expressed joy that the Government has “willing hands who are ready to ensure that emergency services in Lagos Hospitals run and that the hospitals function," assuring that government would continue to do everything in its power to ensure that the medical facilities across the State are not shut down.
Declaring Government’s readiness “to meet with the doctors when they shelve their recalcitrant position," the Special Adviser urged Lagosians to rise up and put pressure on the doctors to return to work pointing out that the Lagos State Government has put everything in place, more than any other government in the country, to ensure that the doctors stay on their jobs in terms of infrastructure and working condition.
“Lagosians should know that doctors in Lagos State earn the fattest salaries in the whole of the country; that the doctors have no reason to go on strike and therefore, Lagosians should mount pressure on them to go back to work because what they are asking for are administrative issues that government has met," Raji said, adding that government assured the doctors of its readiness to correct any unavoidable errors in the implementation of the CONMESS.
Pointing out that CONMESS is a Federal Government Agreement, Raji noted that the State Government did not shy away from implementing it in full although it was imposed and that every state government has the responsibility to pay according to its capacity.
He described the strike as blackmail adding, “These doctors are just out to blackmail Lagos residents so that they will continue to be above the rules and live outside us. Lagosians should, therefore, rise up because the doctors are being paid with taxpayers’ money, and the taxpayers are really sweating. They should prevail on the doctors to go back to work."
SPECIAL ADVISER ON MEDIA TO H.E