Doctors in the State have called on the State Government to ensure their full salaries are paid and must be paid regularly.

They equally expressed displeasure at the governor’s comments on their unpaid salaries.

Speaking through their association,  the Nigeria Medical Association( NMA), they condemned what they described as insensitive comments made by governor Rotimi Akeredolu, on the backlog of salaries owed workers,  including doctors.

Specifically,  they were not happy with the payment of their February salary in June.

The governor had in a television interview on June 3, 2021, queried what he described as the audacity of the doctors in the state to insist on full payment of their salaries.

He said other workers had agreed to receive part-payment of their salaries pending when the finances of the state would improve and the full salary payment would be restored.

Akeredolu stated that  the doctors were not better than teachers, civil servants and other categories of workers, whom he said had agreed to receive partial payments.

 “I think the doctors are not even in the country. How will they say others can receive such a salary but they cannot. Do they have two heads?. They would say their children are in school as if children of the teachers are not in school. I think they need to be talked to by well meaning people of the state.”

The association in a statement signed by its President and Secretary, Stella Adegbehingbe and Olorunfemi Owa respectively, said the governor’s statement was disparaging and dehumanising to the medical profession.

The statement reads in part; “The immediate need for this press release was precipitated by Mr. Governor’s outburst seeking to know whether “Doctors have two heads to be asking that they be paid their 100% salary. It is rather unfortunate that Mr. Governor, who was voted for, is outraged that we had the audacity to request our dues from his administration. He is apparently of the view that since he sporadically pays less than 100% of monthly salaries to other workers, we should meekly accept less than 100 of our hard-earned salaries from his administration “.

“Mr. Governor chose to vilify doctors for asking

him to ensure that he meets contractual obligations freely entered by the state government. Regrettably, Mr. Governor elected to irritably disregard basic obligations of government to her citizens. He has chosen to blame victims of government’s indebtedness for the inability of the same government to perform its duties. His government demands that her workers should work on credit, while gratefully accepting less than their due wages, along with insults, packaged as an admonition.”

They disclosed that government pays a percentage of salaries of its workforce, as reportedly agreed with the state by the Joint Negotiating Council, comprising representatives of government and the Nigerian Labour Congress.

This, according to the statement, is not peculiar to healthcare workers in the state as teachers had been getting percentage payment of salaries for as far back as nine months.

According to the association, some doctors have begun to resign their appointments due to salary cuts and a backlog of unpaid wages.

They said the situation has degenerated to a chronic shortage of manpower “with crushing overwork for those on the ground who are working on credit.”

The doctors noted that following mass resignation among the University of Medical Science Teaching Hospital staff in the state, the institution was about to lose some of its accredited programmes.

“This fact of indebtedness and avoidable delay in payment of salaries, should ordinarily attract a different approach from a responsive government “.

The association lamented that all efforts made to meet the governor had been futile.

It also said general hospitals in the state are left with two doctors each, adding that, “This makes it practically impossible for the hospital to function at a minimum acceptable level “.

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