A coalition of human rights activists under the aegis of Activists United Against Graft and Anti-Peoples Policies (AUGAPOL) has asked the striking health workers to respect the recent order of the industrial court, describing their action as illegal and urged them to resume duties to save human lives.
The activists led by Comrade Mark Adebayo recently made the call at a briefing with journalists in Lagos.
The activists said more than any other parochial interest, the need to protect sanctity of human lives who are dying on a daily basis as a result of the prolonged strike action of the health workers, motivated their intervention.
“Beyond whatever position being maintained by both parties, the sanctity of human lives who must be protected now make it mandatory for JOHESU to resume duties. For instance, I was called that in less than 24 hours in University Teaching Hospital Ibadan (UCH) between Sunday and Monday, 12 patients have died.
“We can not continue this way. The case cited is the one we know. How about many others we don’t know and are taking place in other hospitals across the country? We are even worried that JOHESU as a union is a creation of the Constitution and it cannot but obey an order given by a court of competent jurisdiction,” Adebayo said.
The activists said while they are not condemning agitations by the health workers, they should however respect the sanctity of human lives because no amount of improved welfare agitation can replace lives lost.
Another leader of the group, Comrade Toyin Raheem, said while the activists are holding the JOHESU members accountable, the government must also as a matter of priority honour whatever outstanding agreements it reached with the health workers.
“We understand that the right to embark on strike action is recognised in the Constitution. Our group is pro-labour and pro-union. However, we will not support any act that leads to unnecessary loss of human lives, especially those of the poor masses who can’t afford to attend private hospitals for healthcare services.
“We are therefore calling for wholistic review of the entire health sector in such a way that if health workers are to ventillate their displeasure, such should be through other means and not through strike actions,” Raheem said.