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NIGERIA: LAGOS GOVERNMENT SEIZES DOCTORS’ AUGUST SALARY OVER PARTICIPATION IN NMA STRIKE

Unconfirmed reports say the Lagos government has seized the August salaries of doctors in its hospitals, following their participation in the recently suspended Nigerian Medical Association, strike.

The Lagos state government has seized the August salaries of doctors in its hospitals for participating in the recently concluded Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, strike. All doctors working in government owned hospitals downed tools for almost two months over 24 demands they wanted the federal government to address. Some of their demands included: the government improving residency programme in Nigeria, increasing doctors’ hazard allowances from N5,000 to N100,000 and improving facilities in hospitals all over the country. The doctors agreed to call off the strike because of the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria but on the grounds that no doctor would be punished for participating in the strike. Unfortunately, while doctors in other states have settled back to work, those in Lagos State owned hospitals are lamenting the seizure of their August salaries for joining the strike.

Unrelenting, the doctors have written several letters to the Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, appealing for his assistance. In the four letters made available to PREMIUM TIMES, the doctors appealed to the governor to come to their rescue. In one of the letters dated September 17 and titled: Re: Letter of Appeal for Members of Medical Guild, the Lagos state NMA appealed for the intervention of Mr. Fashola in the situation.

“We write this letter as a follow up to our previous letter dated 9th September, 2014 in which we appealed for your intervention on the above subject matter. “Our colleagues in other states have received their emoluments for the period of the national strike. As a leader with listening ears, we are hopeful that a favourable response on the issue will be received from the government. “We have the assurance that your rare gesture of magnamity will re-enforce a more positive relationship between the Lagos state government and its medical doctors” the letter read. In another letter dated September 15, the doctors appealed to the Lagos governor to stop the casualisation of medical doctors in the state’s employ.

In the letter titled: Casualisation of Medical Doctors in Lagos State and Payment of Two Months Outstanding Salary, the NMA said the casualisation of doctors was an unethical and unhealthy development considering the high level of trainings doctors undergo.

The medical body said the act should not exist especially as Nigeria had a shortage of medical practitioners. They told the governor they would be grateful if the employement of such doctors were regularised. “Your Excellency sir, we believe that as a professional, you will critically look into this towards regularising their appointments. The NMA will be eternally grateful if this anomally can be addressed. “We also believe that if this is not nipped in the bud, it may spread to other states and result in further unrest in the already charged health sector,” the group stated.

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