A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Engineer Sunday Babalola, on Wednesday pleaded with the striking members of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) in Kwara to call off their seven day warning strike.
He pleaded with them to consider the negative effects of the strike on the health and welfare of residents of Kwara State and call it off while further negotations with the government continues.
Babalola who is a governorship aspirant in Kwara State during the 2011 and 2015 electioneering process, also urged the Kwara State Government under Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to address the demands of the striking workers.
He also raised the alarm that it could lead to the deaths of some of the residents who may not have access to other forms of medical care.
Babalola, who had sponsored some free medical outreaches and who through their foundation, Bayo and Bunmi Babalola Foundation, had offered scholarships to 1,362 pupils, students and others in Kwara State; noted that people were undergoing hardship and other challenges, adding that the strike, if not called off, could have monumental destructive effects on the residents.
Babalola said, “Strike is not good for the economy. It is not good for the society. It is not good when two people are fighting over any issue that they can not settle out or sit down to discuss. This strike is one two many because we have had strike here and there. And it is hurting us. Above all, medical strike is worse. This time of pandemic and other kinds of ailments, people will find it difficult to take care if their health. Medical strike can really be very bad.
“Also the government should take time to look at their demands, and met most, if not all of the demands so that we can have peace.”
Members of NAGGMDP in Kwara had on Monday commenced a seven-day warning strike across the 16 local government areas of the state.
Chairman of the association, Dr Saka Agboola, had announced the commencement of the strike on Monday on the sidelines of an emergency Congress by members in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
He explained that the association had been patient and given a series of ultimatum to the state government concerning their agitation on the welfare of members.
According to him, it was painful for the executives to arrive atb such a decision. He added that the congress had unanimously agreed on a seven-day warning strike.
He said the strike was to give room for engagement with the government on some of their agitations.
He stated that the they had demanded for good condition of service, especially in the payment of new remuneration to the members of the union.
But the Kwara State Government in a statement by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Kwara State, Dr. Abubakar O. Ayinla,on Monday had pleaded with the striking doctors to call of their strike.
Dr. Abubakar O. Ayinla said, “We are dismayed by the decision of the doctors to hold a warning strike despite the unprecedented commitments of the government to their welfare. While it is the right of labour unions to press for the right and welfare of their members, it is important to state that this administration has done so well for the health sector and it is prepared to do a lot more within available resources. It is important to observe also that the government has met all their demands while salary adjustment was put at 70%. This was done in good faith and in recognition of the primacy of the health of our people. Notwithstanding the strike, Government remains committed to the agreements already reached in the unprecedented marathon meeting personally chaired by Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq for much of Sunday, October 31, 2021.
“However, we appeal to the doctors to look at the bigger picture and the financial standing of Kwara State, which is at the bottom of federal revenue allocation table. It is also important to reflect on where we are coming from and the progress so far made in not just the health sector but in other areas. Every segment of the state workforce is important, and government is equally working to improve the welfare of the entire public labour community in line with the ethos of the administration.
“We urge our medical doctors to consider immediate suspension of the action while government implements the 70% proposal that its finances can struggle with at this time. Suspension of the action will reaffirm the time-honoured belief of health workers in the sanctity of human life and stability of the public health system.”