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NUPENG Made Up Of Blackmailers -Fashola

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EN-US JA X-NONE can disclose that Lagos State Government has accused the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) of attempting to blackmail Governor Babatunde Fashola by threatening to embark on an industrial action in support of the

sacked 788 medical doctors in the State.
Recall that NUPENG had threatened to embark on a solidarity strike starting from Monday, if the crisis in the health sector of Lagos State that led to the sacking of the doctors was not resolved amicably.

The State Government, speaking through the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lateef Ibirogba, on Saturday said the primary reason the officials of NUPENG have announced their intention to embark on strike was different from the public impression they try to create.

According to the government, NUPENG was seizing the current opportunity to embark on strike as a pay-back against the government's attempt to rid tanker drivers in the State of illegal activities and recklessness.

The government had recently began raiding the Apapa area of the State, where residents had always lamented that the tanker drivers parked their vehicles recklessly and disobeyed governments regulations on issues of traffic, arresting some trucks in the process.

The government, which described the threat as illogical, further stressed: "it would soon be clear to the people that it is the NUPENG whose stock in trade is to call a strike at every flimsy excuse that is seeking to inflict more pains on the people through its sympathy strike and not the Lagos government that has taken decisive steps to restore normalcy in the health sector.

"NUPENG has shown clearly by its rash ultimatum that it had a clear political agenda."

Mr. Ibirogba wondered why the NUPENG did not criticise the Federal Government or rise in defence of doctors in the Military hospitals who were being owed for nine whole months and that instead it was attempting to fight for doctors, who until their disengagement from the services of the State, were well paid and not owed salaries for any month.

He reminded NUPENG that the doctors actually chose to abandon their patients with many avoidable deaths recorded during this period while stressing that in other areas of the world, such doctors would be prosecuted for going against the oath of their profession.

While warning the Nigeria Medical Association to henceforth stop its intimidation of old and newly employed doctors who have decided to work in the State hospitals to save lives, the State Government said: "NUPENG should not use the doctors' strike as a subterfuge to get back at the Lagos State Government for spearheading the much needed clearing of Apapa which has become a nightmare to lawful residents and businesses in the area due to indiscriminate parking and blockade of the roads by tanker drivers.

"The medical profession is one that has always been a refined profession that is guided by decorum from its members as distinct from the present set of political jobbers who are masquerading as medical doctors and issuing unguarded statements like the ones from the leadership of the NMA in the Federal Capital Territory and Oyo State," just as it said it would not be stampeded or intimidated by the antics of politically sponsored unions into abdicating its responsibilities to the citizenry and the rest of its workforce.

It described the various unions as dictatorial and that their plans would not work as it would be detrimental to the well-being of the society.

Ibirogba said the State Government was aware that some people are still making efforts to intimidate the doctors who are working in the State hospitals, threatening to report them to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) and arrange for them to be punished reminding such people that the laws setting up MDCN are detailed in the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap 221 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and that the Code of Conduct of Medical Ethics is a body of rules drawn up by MDCN to guide professional conduct of Medical and Dental Practitioners.

He said the State understands the roles of the MDCN in the profession some of which he listed as determining the standard of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the medical or dental profession, securing the establishment and maintenance of register of persons entitled to practice as members of the medical profession, reviewing and preparing the code of conduct and performing other functions conferred on MDCN by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act.

Using illustration, Ibirogba said the situation was like saying that anyone could be sanctioned by the MDCN for refusing to attend meetings of the NMA or failing to vote for a particular candidate in an election as according to him, "every registered Medical and Dental Practitioner is supposed to have received a copy of the MDCN Code of Medical Ethics. Part of what this was meant to achieve is that nobody should be in a position to hoodwink any doctors with vague threats of illegal use of statutory powers belonging to a regulatory body that is supposed to be totally insulated from petty politics.

"In the recent past the MDCN itself has come out strongly against the detrimental effect of frequent and precipitate strike actions by doctors, which invariably cost the lives of innocent citizens and put a taint on the profession."

The Commissioner said the State Government would also report those peddling fake information and threats as well as bringing the NMDC into the mud to the appropriate quarters for necessary action while assuring the residents of the State that the government was seriously working to ensure the normalcy returned to the hospitals.