Nigerian doctors to join in fuel subsidy protest

05 January 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos - The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) is to join in the nationwide protest in Nigeria over the government’s recent removal of the subsidy on petrol.

NMA President, Dr Omede Idris and the Secretary General, Dr Bala Audu, said, in a statement, that doctors will join other Nigerians to protest the policy, which has already led organised labour to declare a national strike beginning from Monday.

Describing the action of the Nigerian government as wicked and insensitive, the association placed its state branches and affiliates on the alert, pending directives from the national body.

It appealed to the Federal Government to reverse its action and prevent avoidable stress and strain on Nigerians.

The statement read: “The Nigerian Medical Association received with shock the news of the removal of the fuel subsidy effective January 1, 2012. The NMA views the action of the Federal Government as wicked and insensitive.”

“It clearly depicts insincerity even from the sudden somersault of the intended date of commencement. This is surely an ambush against hapless masses of this country.”

“The NMA condemns and rejects this criminal increase in the pump price of fuel in the midst of increasing unemployment, red-alert insecurity, exponential poverty, increasing Ill- health and diseases, collapsed educational systems, escalating anger and frustration in the land.”

“We in the NMA will join the millions of Nigerians to resist this evil. State branches and affiliates of the NMA are directed to be ever ready for directives on the next line of action.”

“Where democracy thrives, power belongs to the people, with the elected leaders listening to the yearnings of the people. This has not been so in this country, where government rules with impunity.” he noted

The NMA said that the government, rather than removing the fuel subsidy now, should first curb its waste, make the refineries functional and ensure accountability with verifiable audit in petroleum sector and tackle corruption in the downstream sector of oil and gas operations.

The doctors also advised the government to stop frivolous foreign trips and use the savings to begin to address the palliatives in the subsidy reinvestment empowerment programme.

The association further stated: “It should also provide support for private health sector and genuinely encourage public- private partnership in health and other sectors as palliatives.”

“As a professional association, we cannot shy away from our professional dictates and responsibility to our clients, patients and the good citizens of this country, who in addition to inflationary multiplier effects in hike of fuel price, will be worse off in procuring health in a system without safety valves for the informal sector and majority of formal sector workforce that spend heavily for the health of their children.

“This is more so in a country where establishing a national health system through accent to the National Health Bill cannot hold sway for reasons best known to the Executive.

“The NMA has the responsibility to stand with, by and behind the Nigerian people in genuine demands,”.