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Doctors Strike, a Betrayal of Agreement ―Gov Bello

Doctors Strike, a Betrayal of Agreement ―Gov BelloGovernor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has described the indefinite strike embarked by the state chapter of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) as a “betrayal of mutual agreement and a bridge of trust’’.
Bello said this on Wednesday in a statement by his Director-General on Media and Strategy, Mr Kingsley Fanwo.
The governor assured residents that his administration would continue to protect their rights to quality healthcare service delivery.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the association had directed its members to embark on an indefinite strike over government’s failure to pay doctors’ salaries and other issues bordering on the staff verification exercise in the state.
In a communique jointly signed by its Chairman, Dr Tijani Godwin, and Secretary, Dr Zubair Kabiru, after an emergency congress on Tuesday in Lokoja, directed the doctors to commence the strike on Wednesday.
However, the governor assured the people of the state that his administration would do everything within the ambit of the law to avert the indefinite strike.
Bello said that the wisdom behind the inclusion of NMA representative in the screening was for them to give their expert advice that would lead the committee to make informed decisions.
“The Staff Verification Exercise received the backings of labour; NMA was duly represented in the exercise and they signed the report, which signified their acceptance for the report.
“For NMA to turn around to condemn the report is a betrayal of agreement and an attempt to condemn the home they joined hands with government in building.
“The decision to unnecessarily punish the people by going on strike is unfortunate and will be resisted by government.
“In an era of recession, it is an economic sin against the people to pay workers for doing nothing.
“We will explore legal and administrative avenues to stop the ill-fated strike.
“As we explore negotiations and diplomatic settlement; this government will also continue the ongoing recruitment process in the health sector to bridge any gap which may tend to endanger the healthcare of our people.
“Our doors are always open; we will always listen to unionists. We believe in inclusiveness; but we will not hesitate to take drastic decisions that will help the people of our dear state,’’ Bello said.
The governor, however, appealed to the association not to declare war on the state, saying their primary responsibility is to save lives and ensure healthcare service delivery for the people of the state.
NAN

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