Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has described the ongoing nationwide warning strike by the Nigerian Medical Association as provocative, illegal, avoidable and unnecessary.
The governor also said that any doctor that joined the strike in the state would not be paid.
Oshiomhole said this on Thursday at a meeting with the Association of Resident Doctors and Medical and Dental Consultants Association in Government House, Benin.
The governor said, “There is nothing in the convention or the law that allows you to simply walk out on your job. The fact that your colleagues under federal employment had dispute and they sought meeting with the minister of health, those are meetings between your colleagues and the Federal Government. How is Edo State a part of that?
“I expect that if you feel obliged to go on that strike, I think you should inform us that the strike is inevitable. I do understand the logic and essence of solidarity, but in this business, before you resort to solidarity action, people who are themselves directly involved in the dispute may choose on their own to first go on strike.
“If after sometime you feel that no one is listening and there is a need to reinforce by way of solidarity, subject to the rule of law, then you can decide to go on a secondary action.
“I am not aware that you can go on strike the same day as those who are directly affected.”
The governor who argued that if solidarity was the basis of participation by doctors under the employment of the state, wondered why doctors in private practice not part of the action.
“I am unable to resist the conclusion that the strike is designed to enrich those at the private practice by shutting down public hospitals so that those who are sick will have no choice but to go to private clinics where some of your members on strike go to work.
“And to think that anyone would do this, such that those who cannot afford private health care are now left to die, is a gross abuse of your skills.
“It borders on blackmail on the entire system and holds all of us to ransom. When a doctor no longer bothers about the life of a patient, that is the beginning of the end.
“In Edo State, we will not submit to this blackmail. You are doing essential services because of the nature of your work, you are not expected to go on strike. Let us realise that beyond naira and kobo, there is life.”
Responding, on behalf of the delegation, Dr. Eghe Abe, said the association would convene for a dispassionate consideration of the governor’s address and what is in the interest of the state.”
Meanwhile, the strike has continued to have serious impact on patients in many hospitals visited by our correspondents. Also the News Agency of Nigeria reported that medical doctors at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Osun, on Thursday joined the five-day warning strike called by the national body of the NMA.
Correspondents of the NAN who visited the hospital reported that the action had paralysed health care services.
Pharmacists, nurses and other health workers, however, performed skeletal functions.
Patients were not discharged from various wards in the hospital due to the strike, but new ones were not admitted.
However, doctors in the ear, nose and throat department were seen attending to patients.
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