Despite passionate appeals by the former Governor of Lagos State and Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and other party stalwarts which led to the recall of sacked Lagos doctors under the umbrella of the Medical Guild by Governor Babatunde Fashola on Thursday, they said they would not go back to work.
The doctors rejected the recall on the grounds that it was not accompanied by reinstatement letters.
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) said the doctors would not go back to work unless “letters of recall are sent to each of them by the state government”.
Asiwaju Tinubu had on Thursday engaged Governor Fashola in a discussion at a closed-door meeting before he agreed to reinstate the doctors.
Tinubu, at the meeting, tabled the appeals of the leadership of the party, well-meaning Nigerians and organiastions committed to people’s welfare, urging him to be more flexible in handling the issue of the striking doctors.
The ACN National Leader said there was need to work and build institutions that would develop people and prioritise the welfare of the masses, saying there was no problem without a solution.
His words: “The governor has agreed to suspend the dismissal and advise that they should go back to work and follow the right procedure. I don’t see a point of no return here and since people are the cornerstone of the progressive policy of the state, I want to thank the governor for looking at it from the point of view of the people, the general concern and I want to advise and appeal to the doctors to immediately resume their work in earnest and forget about this intractable position.”
Tinubu said the impasse between the state and the doctors can be solved, saying: “I don’t want to comment further until all parties respect this outcome. The governor all along has not said it’s impossible. It is a question of the insinuation that we all have developed.“
The Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Edamisan Temiye, said the latest development would determine the next line of action by the NMA.
Temiye, who briefed journalists yesterday, alleged that the government did not communicate with the Medical Guild or affected doctors directly as required by extant rules of the civil service.
He said: “Since the government has indicated that it was responding to the intervention of stakeholders who made unambiguous calls for the full reinstatement of the doctors, we believe that it ought to have made it clear that the reinstatement is complete and would be without any reprisals.”
He said the NMA only heard that the government had recalled doctors but had no concrete evidence that it was actually true.
“We are looking for concrete evidence. So when we have concrete evidence, we will take action from there. The doctors were sacked with written letters sent to each of them. Those letters should be retrieved in writing. That is one way of doing it and the government needs to reaffirm the agreement they have reached with us on the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).
Meanwhile, the state government has informed the returning doctors to liaise with the Lagos State Health Service Commission (HSC) and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) for further directives and resumption formalities, according to a statement signed by Mr. Hakeem Bello, Special Adviser on Media to the Governor.
The statement goes thus: “Following the intervention of several well-meaning individuals and organisations, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN has requested a review of the cases of Medical Doctors who were recently dismissed by the Lagos State Health Service Commission (HSC) and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
“Consequently, the relevant authorities of both Health Service Commission and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) have decided to reverse the dismissal and give all the affected Doctors the opportunity to return to their duty post with immediate effect.
“Returning Doctors are to liaise with the HSC or LASUTH authorities, as the case may be, for further directives and resumption formalities.”