|Protesting Osun doctors | credits: Femi Makinde|
Resident doctors at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, on Thursday staged a fresh protest in Osogbo, Osun State capital, to register their anger over the non-payment of their salaries for the past eight months.
The doctors asked Governor Rauf Aregbesola to resign from office if he failed to pay them by the end of June which he promised.
The doctors, who were led the their President, Dr. Olalekan Ajayi, had gathered at the premises of the hospital from where they trooped out to the streets singing anti-government songs.
Armed with placards, with various inscriptions like: “Even Slaves Deserve to be Fed; 230 Days of Unpaid Salaries and Ogbeni, Pay our Salaries,” the doctors caused traffic snarl at Station Road.
Members of the Association of Resident Doctors had, on May 12, staged a similar protest and marched to the House of Assembly where they dropped their protest letter.
Speaking in an interview with journalists at the end of the protest, ARD president said despite being owed eight months, doctors were not on strike but explained that they could not work because of the strike embarked upon by other categories of workers in the hospital.
He said, “We have not been paid for the past eight months. And since then, we have been lobbying and appealing to the government to help but till date we have not been paid.
“It has not only affected us as humans, it has affected our families and also our patients. We are telling the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola to do the needful.
“This is economic genocide in our state. It is not compatible with life. For these eight months, we have tried to maintain peace and industrial harmony. There is no official announcement that we are on strike but we can’t work.
“The hospital is down, everybody is down and there is no way we can actually work as professionals.”
Ajayi stated that patients were dying because of the financial crisis which he said had brought every sector of the state down.
The doctors said salary payment should be a priority for any government sensitive to the needs of the people.
They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to help Osun and other states out of the financial crisis which they said was worse than the problem of insecurity.