Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has slammed the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) over their ongoing strike.
He berated the doctors spoke on Tuesday at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba where he commemorated 2020 Tree Planting Day and commissioned a 36 chamber Morgue donated by IHS Towers to the state government.
Sanwo-Olu described the strike embarked upon by doctors as an unfair, unfortunate, and opportunistic in view of the raging Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
He said: “It is rather unfortunate that my workers whom I love so dearly would take this very unexpected line to appeal their grievances.
“It is rather unfair and unfortunate that any of us, especially them at this time would want to take an opportunistic approach because of the pandemic crisis we are going through, I think it is rather unfortunate and I think it is utterly condemnable.
“And I think I owe the system as the Chief Incident Commander to express and to say to you that come back to work, I am still your governor, resume back to work and whatever the issues are, we will sort it out,” he told the doctors.
He, however, said the major issue that led to doctors’ strike in the state had been resolved, saying it was all due to inadequate communication and understanding.
According to the governor, the major issue at stake was the yet to be paid May and June additional COVID-19 allowance which has now been paid, saying that the allowance was his initiative because he wanted to show leadership at the outbreak of the pandemic.
Sanwo-Olu said the cause of the delay in payment was because the government had to do enumeration to ensure that only those who were supposed to receive it got it.
The governor stated that the COVID-19 additional allowance, which is different from hazard allowance that the government had earlier increased by 400 percent.
He added that the COVID-19 additional allowance was for only frontline workers at the isolation centres, but that it became an all comers affair which was becoming a drain on the state’s purse, hence the enumeration.
“The enumeration was to ensure that only those entitled to it, that is those working in Isolation centres and not all medical staff in the state hospitals and health centres, receive the allowance,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu stated that other issues that led to the strike like taxes, residential quarters for doctors, shortage of doctors, dismissal of health workers, among others, were being addressed and that the doctors were aware of it.
On the issue of dismissal of doctors, Sanwo-Olu said they were not dismissed but were only redeployed to their primary duty post after spending about three to four months at the Isolation centre.