By: Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
As the industrial action embarked upon by the Kogi State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), enters day 14, the association has warned medical doctors to beware of any employment coming from the State Government at this critical period of salary irregularities.
Nigeria Medical Association in a statement signed by its Chairman, Dr Godwin Tijani, said they are aware of the latest development coming from the Government to recruit new doctors to replace striking doctors who have not been paid for months.
The statement reads in parts, “Information reaching me indicate that the Kogi State Government through the ministry of health has concluded plans to recruit new set of medical officers to replace the doctors on strike from Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th June 2017.
“That appointment letter will be issued immediately and posted to various hospitals across the state. NMA Kogi State advice and warn those doctors invited for the interview to have a rethink.What happened to old pot can still happen to new pot.
“There are doctors in the services of the state government who have been owned salaries for months and to remind them that they are members of NMA and doctors in the state are on strike and at such, they can’t resume work as a mark of solidarity with their colleagues.”
Dr Tijani however maintained that NMA are not against the recruitment of more doctors, just as he emphasized that the state are short of medical officers, but insisted that, such process at this critical time when doctors are being owed salaries, non implementation of revised CONMESS and relativity, promotions and annual stepping does not speak well of any government.
“We are not against government policies provided it is aimed at ameliorating the suffering of the masses,” Dr Tijani added.
In a swift reaction, the state Commissioner For Health Dr Saka Haruna debunked the allegation describing it as an erroneous impression emanating from the hands of some mischief makers in the state.
He said the state government will soon employ 230 doctors added to 163 existing in the state and have no intention to relieve any striking doctors of their duties as they will continue to negotiate with NMA to put an end to the ongoing impasse between the association and the government.