Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna, North-West Nigeria, has vowed to sack any doctor or health worker who joins a strike against the state government.
He said that the state would not be “blackmailed” by the health workers.
Mr el-Rufai said the strike notice issued by the state’s medical doctors and health workers, was “criminal” as such an action was unacceptable during the serious COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor said that he would ensure that the state’s health facilities remain open and that his administration would provide security for the state’s employees who were not part of the planned strike action.
el-Rufai said that the planned strike action would not deter his administration from compelling all workers to make a mandatory donation of twenty-five per cent of their paycheck to fund the provision of palliatives for vulnerable people impacted by the lockdown.
“The government rejects the strike threat and will regard persons who fail to show up at their assigned places of work as having forfeited their employment. Every health worker that is willing to work is required to sign the register at the Ministry of Health and the health institutions to which they are deployed.
“The Ministry of Health has the mandate of the government to ensure that residents of Kaduna State are not deprived of public health services.
“Every effort will be made to ensure that health facilities keep functioning, staffed by willing workers who will be guaranteed free and safe access to health facilities. Those who are not willing to work are strongly warned against criminal actions such as attempts to impede access to workplaces, harass willing workers or to sabotage facilities and equipment,” he said.
“The state government will not be misled into granting health workers a special status amongst public servants. The consequences of concessions made along such lines by previous governments have created a sense that some public servants are more precious than others.”