Wednesday, 23rd May 2012
OPEN LETTER TO
AMBASSADORS AND HIGH COMMISSIONERS
Your Distinguished Excellencies,
BAN ON TRAVEL FOR HEALTH PURPOSES ON LAGOS STATE PUBLIC OFFICIALS
It has become imperative for the Joint Action Front (JAF), a pro-labour civil society coalition to request the Foreign Missions in Nigeria to place a BAN ON TRAVEL FOR HEALTH PURPOSES ON LAGOS STATE PUBLIC OFFICIALS.
This is sequel to the information available to us that senior officials of the Lagos State Government and their relations are leaving the country for medical treatment, at very great cost to the taxpayer, while the greater mass of the people suffer under the current situation.
The Lagos State Government, as you should have been aware from significant reports by local and international media, has been violating with impunity international and national labour laws on the Right to Organise and to Collective Bargaining and long-standing judgments of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association in its employer-employees relationship with the Lagos Medical Doctors (the Medical Guild) in Lagos State Government employment, and has by its arrogant posture, which clearly portrays insensitivity to human suffering, left the poor and underprivileged, vulnerable to sudden death.
It is necessary to recall that the Government of Lagos State recently sacked 788 of its doctors for demanding it should honour the Agreement it FREELY made with the Lagos Medical Guild 14 months ago. The doctors had embarked on a 3-day Warning Strike in April 2012 after its months of appeals to the Government had been roundly ignored.
The Doctors had opted for the short strike in order to avoid the effects that a prolonged strike would have on the people, in the hope for a quick resolution of the dispute; but the Lagos State Government responded with ‘Threats of sack, intimidation and the invasion and disruption of a peaceful meeting of the doctors with truckloads of armed policemen and armoured personnel carriers. These crude actions and executive lawlessness by the Lagos State Government precipitated the declaration of an indefinite strike by the Lagos Doctors.
It is the considered opinion by the General Congress of JAF that all measures including diplomatic sanctions should be brought to bear on the Lagos State Government in order to ensure that it rescinds all its deplorable act of insensitivity. We believe that leaving the country by any official of the Lagos State Government or their relatives to seek medical treatment abroad while the mass of the people are being denied access to basic healthcare is criminal, and this must not be allowed.
Therefore, JAF urges your Excellencies to ensure that no functionary of the Lagos State Government or their families should be granted Visa to travel abroad to seek medical treatment until the current situation is resolved, and the rights of the teeming masses of our people to adequate health is restored.
JAF is of the view that rather than waste public resources that should have been mostly available to develop the health sector, the Lagos State Government should see to the speedy resolution of the avoidable impasse it has created, by immediately and unconditionally, recalling the doctors in its employment, re-affirming the Agreement and proceeding to fully implement it.
Our interest in this matter is to ensure that Government in our country at whatever levels should be responsible to the people and our duty is to use all legitimate means to make Government alive to its responsibilities.
Dr. Dipo Fashina Comrade Abiodun Aremu
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary