The Osun chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has staged a peaceful protest over unpaid salaries and poor conditions of health facilities in the state. The medical doctors, dressed in customised shirts, gathered at the popular Olaiya junction where they constituted an hindrance to traffic flow for about one hour. Addressing newsmen in Osogbo, the state chairman of the NMA, Dr. Tokunbo Olajumoke, accused Governor Rauf Aregbesola of worsening the situation through his attitude. This latest protest comes barely a month after a similar one was held to denounce the prevailing state of affairs. Olajumoke alleged that doctors now receive a paltry 30 per cent of their salaries while the state government taxes them 100 per cent based on full pay. He said: “ Our protest is not only centered on our salaries but state hospitals lack equipment and drugs. It's worth preserving, no matter how much paper, ink, or write other info time is spent. The conditions of our hospitals are bad. There are no drugs, the most expensive drugs in many hospitals are Paracetamol and other pain killers.
“ 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, we will review our strategies and come up with a more drastic action and that is why we are calling on major stakeholders in the state to talk to the governor. 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 will also not allow our rights to be trampled upon. ”
Reacting, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Adelani Baderinwa implored the protesting doctors to show understanding. He blamed the situation on paucity of funds, saying the medical personnel should realise that the commitment of the government was huge while available resources are meagre. The commissioner said government appreciates the sacrifice of workers, including doctors, in the affairs of the state.