Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu today declared that lawyers and resident doctors in the state are at liberty to protest as long as they want, saying as someone who has led protests before, he is not moved by it.
Legal practitioners in the services of the Ondo State Government have threatened to embark on strike over alleged harsh working conditions by the Akeredolu-led government.
The threat by the lawyers to down tools is coming a few hours after doctors in the state commenced an indefinite strike over non-payment of four months’ salaries.
But speaking on the issue in an interview on Channels Television programme ‘Sunrise Daily, Akeredolu said workers are free to remain on the streets in protest over unpaid salaries, adding that they will return to work when their wages are paid.
He said “I don’t see any problem with that. I am one person who has always encouraged any group who want to protest, to protest. It’s their right. They have a right to go out and protest. I will never send policemen at you”.
“You have the right to remain on the streets for three to five days, there is no problem. There is nothing wrong in protest. I have led protests before. So, you can protest, you can be there. It has never moved me in anyway. But all I know is that if you choose to be on the streets, so be it!
“If you look at the resident doctors, the resident doctors in their own case were saying they wanted their salaries to be paid as you pay other civil servants. They held meetings and it was said that that will commence from the month of October.
“When I read that they are going on strike, I told the Commissioner for Finance that you brought papers to me here, there was an increase in our wage and I asked you and you said it was because you have included resident doctors wages in the normal salaries we pay.
“I then asked, why are they going on strike? He said they told them but maybe they don’t believe.
“But by now that they have paid the salaries like they paid other civil servants, they will go back. You know at times, they just want to enjoy it. Resident doctors are the ones who are in training, who are working with Teaching hospitals. Other doctors are working. Assuming we decide to suspend the training, must we train them?”
“We need to understand that Teaching Hospitals used to pay from their grants but we find out that their grants come late. Other civil servants would have been paid before they get their own money. Their grants come late and there is nothing we could do about it”.