EXTRACT FROM ARD’S MISSIVE
The Ag. Head of Clinical Services,
Federal Medical Center, Lokoja.
8th February, 2016
We are aware of the Query Letter that was yesterday issued to the President of our noble organisation, Dr. Kennedy O. Obohwemu, demanding him to explain within twenty four hours why disciplinary measures should not be taken against him on account of the “erroneous press interview published in many national dailies with the caption ‘Kogi Doctor raises alarm over poor facilities in Federal Medical Center, Lokoja'”.
Without mincing words, we wish to categorically state the following:
1. The Query Letter was misdirected, as no single individual of this association granted any press interview as implied in the letter;
2. The letter should be directed to the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Medical Center, Lokoja rather than to a specific individual. You might as well issue a query to every member of the association;
3. The caption in the said newspapers began with the words ‘Kogi Doctors…’, not ‘Kogi Doctor…’, meaning it was a group of well-meaning senior citizens of the country (an association called ARD, FMC-Lokoja) rather than a single person as erroneously stated in the Query Letter;
4. The very first statement in the affected newspapers began with the words, “The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in Kogi State…” This again buttresses the fact that a group of people were called into action, not just an individual as implied in the Query Letter;
5. Acting upon the decision reached at its Emergency General Meeting held on Monday, January 18th, 2016 (minutes attached), the Congress went ahead to organize a Press Conference with the chief aim of sensitizing members of the public about the menace associated with the Lassa Fever epidemic which is still ravaging the country;
6. The Press Conference was held on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 with the mission highlighted in item (2) above being of paramount importance (original draft attached);
7. The State Epidemiologist, Dr. Austin Ojotule who doubles as the Kogi State NMA Chairman, was duly informed of the said Press Conference;
8. The Press Conference was not in respect of the supposed ‘poor facilities in FMC, Lokoja’ as implied in the Query Letter;
9. The association must have been quoted out of context with regards to the publications mentioned in the Query Letter;
10. As an association, we are strongly behind our able President, Dr. Kennedy Obohwemu who has so far carried out his duties as entrenched in our Constitution, without fear or favour;
11. We see no reason why an individual should be singled out and victimized for an action that was executed by an association. Such acts of discrimination, intimidation and ‘scapegoatism’ are not tolerated by any rule of law anywhere in this world!
12. We see this episode as a mark of utter disrespect for our noble association. It is regrettable, unpalatable, disdainful, uncalled-for, out of tune and out of line! We will not take it!
13. We have been grossly disrespected in the past, but this is the height of it! Enough is enough!
14. We have carried out our noble duties to the people of Kogi State fairly and squarely and to the best of our ability. Our conscience is clear. We are not afraid of anybody!
15. In all our dealings with the hospital management, we have genuinely resorted to constructive engagements as a way of averting industrial disputes. We are relentlessly working hard to sustain industrial harmony in this hospital. It is saddening to note that episodes of victimization will only thwart these efforts.
16. We will continue to explore dialogue despite the current provocative stance from the management of this hospital. That notwithstanding, the hospital management must also be called to order. We all must work in synergy to make Kogi State great.
17. The people of Kogi State deserve uninterrupted quality healthcare services. It is their right, and our responsibility. Nobody’s ego will be allowed to deny our people their right to quality healthcare services. We cannot afford to have our people deprived of access to healthcare due to avoidable industrial disputes.
18. Our parent body (NARD) has always condemned acts of victimization, intimidation, injustice and oppression of her members by hospital management, and we join our voices in expressing our gross disapproval of these social vices.
The above points are salient, and we cannot emphasize them enough. As such, we implore the hospital management to withdraw the Query Letter with immediate effect! We will not be held responsible if the matter escalates beyond this point. A stitch in time saves nine!
We expect to be formally communicated when the Query Letter is withdrawn.
This is the unbiased opinion of every member of the association.
The Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Medical Center, Lokoja
Ag. MD, FMC, Lokoja
All Clinical HODs, FMC, Lokoja
All Non-Clinical HODs, FMC, Lokoja
MDCAN Chairman, FMC, Lokoja
Kogi State NMA Chairman
ARD Legal Adviser
State Security Service, Kogi State
NUJ Press Center, Lokoja
Ministry of Labour & Productivity, Kogi State