The Kogi State Government on Monday said that it had no plan to sack and replace the 163 medical doctors on its payroll.
Although, it confirmed that it was recruiting additional 230 medical doctors, but rejected suggestions that the new officers would replace their 163 colleagues currently on strike.
Speaking to newsmen in Lokoja on the matter, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Audu said that those peddling the rumour were mischief makers.
“Yes, we are recruiting new doctors, but we won’t sack those already in the system just because they are on strike.
“We have only 163 doctors; that is certainly not enough for Kogi. That is why we are recruiting more hands,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Audu said that it was “misleading, mischievous, erroneous and unkind” to suggest that government would sack the medical personnel and replace them with new ones.
“It is not only doctors that are being recruited; we are also engaging pharmacists, medical laboratory scientists, pharmacy technicians, nurses, health record officers and medical laboratory assistants,” he said.
He reaffirmed government’s commitment to continue to negotiate with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) toward resolving the impasse between the association and the government.
The Kogi chapter of the NMA had accused the Kogi government of taking steps to engage new hands before sacking its members.
The NMA Chairman, Dr. Godwin Tijani, had in a statement alleged that Ministry of Health would conduct the recruitment on June 19, to replace doctors on strike.
However, Audu dismissed the statement as misleading.
“Not only do we find such an assertion preposterous and mischievous, but one wonders what anyone stands to gain from the spread of such rumour.
“Our drive is to ensure quality healthcare delivery for the people of Kogi; we will never be deterred by the criticisms of the critics and the mischief of trouble peddlers. A clear conscience fears no accusation,’’ Audu said.