By Victor Adeoti
Medical doctors working with Osun Government on Thursday staged a peaceful protest over the non-payment of their salary arrears and poor condition of public hospitals in the State .
The protest was led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Osun State chapter , Dr Tokunbo Olajumoke.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the doctors staged similar protest on June 1, on the same issues.
The doctors, who chanted anti – government slogans marched from the LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo to the popular Olaiya Junction to Oke Fia Roundabout.
The NMA chairman , who later addressed journalists, said salaries of doctors had been slashed drastically, saying they were now receiving a paltry 30 percent of their salaries while the state government was taxing them based on the 100 per cent of the salaries.
Olajumoke said that the doctors were not carried along when the governor decided to order that their salaries should be slashed .
“ Our protest is not only centred on our salaries rather on our hospitals that lacked equipment and drugs .
“The conditions of our hospitals are bad, there are no drugs: the most expensive drugs in many hospitals are paracetamol and other painkillers.
“ We say no to obnoxious tax regime , we say no to amputated salaries and we want our hospitals to work in the interest of the people , who can not afford to seek treatment abroad .
After today’ s protest, he said they would review their strategies and we will come up with a more drastic action.
“We cannot give half treatment to our patients because we are being paid `amputated’ salaries.
“ We have done everything humanly possible but the governor is recalcitrant; We also will not allow our rights to be trampled upon and keep silent,” Olajumoke said.
Reacting to the protest, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Adelani Baderinwa , appealed to the doctors to show understanding with the government .
“ Our appeal to the doctors is that they should take the ethics of their profession seriously, they should consider the financial status of Nigeria which Osun State is part of .
” There should be synergy and understanding between the government and the doctors on the need to save lives .
“This administration is never found wanting in the area of workers’ welfare including the doctors,” Baderinwa said.(NAN)