The Lagos State Government has condemned threats by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union (NUPENG) to join the Nigeria Medical Association and the sacked 788 Lagos doctors in embarking on a solidarity strike on Monday if the state fails to reverse the mass sack decision.
Governor Babatunde Fashola in a statement released on Saturday likened the threats to “blackmail and arm twisting”on the part of NUPENG and “a subterfuge to get back at the Lagos State Government for spearheading the much needed clearing of Apapa which has become a nightmare to lawful residents and businesses in the area due to indiscriminate parking and blockade of the roads by tanker drivers”.
In the statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, the state government said “it would soon be clear to the people that it is the NUPENG whose stock in trade is to call a strike at every flimsy excuse that is seeking to inflict more pains on the people through its sympathy strike”.
The 788 doctors, who were sacked after refusing to answer queries in regards to the legality of a three-day warning strike they embarked upon in April, have kicked against their mass dismissal, calling for immediate reinstatement.
However, the Lagos State government remains resolved in its decision to sack the doctors, replacing them with over 300 new medical practitioners who “will not abandon their patients”.
In the statement released today, the government condemned the use of the current stalemate between both sides for political advancement and warned against “political jobbers who are masquerading as medical doctors and issuing unguarded statements like the ones from the leadership of the NMA in the Federal Capital Territory and Oyo State”.
“The State Government would not be stampeded or intimidated by the antics of politically sponsored unions into abdicating its responsibilities to the citizenry and the rest of its workforce, adding that the dictatorship of a union to the detriment of the well being of the society will not stand,” the statement reads.
The government also warned disgruntled individuals against intimidating the replacement doctors, employed by the government following the sack of the 788 striking doctors.
The Statement added: “We have observed that some people are still making efforts to intimidate the doctors who are working in our hospitals, threatening to ‘report’ them to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and arrange for them to be ‘punished”.
The laws setting up MDCN are detailed in the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap 221 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and the Code of Conduct of Medical Ethics is a body of rules drawn up by MDCN to guide professional conduct of Medical and Dental Practitioners, the Statement noted
The statement also lists the responsibilities of MDCN to include determining the standard of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the medical or dental profession, securing the establishment and maintenance of register of persons entitled to practice as members of the medical profession, reviewing and preparing the code of conduct and performing other functions conferred on MDCN by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act.
“The MDCN is modeled after the highest traditions of a profession that has traditionally been held in the highest esteem by other professions, but is now running the risk of being brought into disrepute by the misguided activities of some people”.
Mr Ibirogba said the MDCN has a mandate to apply sanctions on erring practitioners for such infractions as ‘Infamous Conduct’ and ‘Professional Misconduct’.
The Commissioner assured the good citizens of Lagos State of the resolve of Government to ensure a rapid scale-up of services in the State’s hospitals back to full operational status as soon as possible.