Moshood Adebayo, Lagos
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has appealed to the striking doctors in the state to call off a 3-day warning strike, assuring them that the major issue that led to the strike had been resolved.
While lamenting that the strike was due to inadequate communication and understanding, the governor said the bone of contention – non-payment of the May and June supplementary COVID-19 allowances – had been settled.
He explained that the cause of the delay in payment was because of the enumeration which his administration had to carry out to ensure that only those eligible receive it.
The governor spoke while fielding questions from journalists at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, where he commemorated the year 2020 Tree Planting Day and commissioned a 36-chamber morgue donated by IHS Towers to the state government.
Sanwo-Olu further lamented that the pandemic coronavirus had drastically altered the way Nigerians live their lives and do business.
‘There is a new normal, and it is now becoming clear that we may never return to the old ways of doing things,’ the governor stated.
‘It is rather unfortunate that my workers whom I love so dearly would take this very unexpected line to appeal their grievances.
‘It is rather unfair and unfortunate that any of us especially them at this time would want to take an opportunistic approach because of the pandemic crisis we are going through. I think it is rather unfortunate and I think it is utterly condemnable.’
While appealing to the striking doctors, Sanwo-Olu said: ‘I think I owe the system as the Chief Incident Commander to express and to say to you: come back to work, I am still your governor, resume back to work and whatever the issues are we will sort it out.’
The COVID-19 additional allowance, which is different from hazard allowance that the government had earlier increased by 400 per cent, is for all health workers.
The governor explained that the coronavirus allowance was for only frontline workers at the isolation centres, ‘but it became an all-comers affair which was becoming a drain on the state’s purse, hence the enumeration.
‘The enumeration was to ensure that only those entitled to it, that is those working in Isolation centres and not all medical staff in the state hospitals and health centres, receive the allowance.’
Other issues that led to the strike like taxes, residential quarters for doctors, shortage of doctors, dismissal of health workers, etc, the governor said are being taken care of and that the doctors are aware of it.