The Lagos state government has fired 788 doctors who have been on strike since 16 April.
The doctors began their strike – backed by Nigeria’s Medical Guild - over the alleged failure of the Lagos state government to fully implement the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS), the pay scale for doctors in Nigeria promised by Lagos governor Babatunde Fashola in late 2010.
Government officials said the dismissals on 7 May followed the alleged refusal of the doctors to explain their absence from work “without leave and without the due observance of the rules and regulations guiding strikes” – a reference to the doctors’ 24-hours strike notice instead of the mandatory 15 days.
The government said it has employed 373 junior doctors to replace those dismissed, and it plans to recruit more doctors soon. In the meantime, the normally bustling hospitals of Lagos are virtually empty.
Reacting to the move, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) threatened to close health services in Lagos if the state government fails to reverse its decision.