Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Help! Foremost Journalist Threatened For Reporting Health Sector Strike!

Practitioners Strike: Johesu On The Way To Calvary, But Who Wants Fejiro Oliver Dead?
… My Interview With Dr Felix Faniran
(Nuptam National Chairman)
Because we have suffered, and we are not
afraid to suffer in order to survive, we are
ready to give up everything; even our lives
in our struggle for justice
Cesar Chavez
I owe no one apology for being a journalist/
activist and like the young doctors of
medicine who have responded that anyone
who wants to read medicine should go and
buy JAMB form; today I say to them also to
go and buy JAMB form and apply for
journalism. Tell me that anyone can be a
journalist and we in the profession will tell
you that is a fat lie. We were not influenced
as kids just the way the stethoscope attracted
you, rather we chose this reporting life;
hence we remain simple and modest. Yes, to
these untrained physicians (with exception
to the older and sincere ones) who say that
the Nurses, Medical Lab Scientist and
Radiographers have paid me to set the
nation on fire; I also say to you: get a
journalist and pay him #150 million Naira to
do similar report. Should you get confused
on whom to hire, I will recommend my good
colleague, Rudolf Okonkwo to you, but be
prepared to cough out dollars. When has it
become a mortal sin to stand on the side of
truth simply because a few group of
individuals who fear that their ‘position’ is
been threatened? They cry to high heaven
that Fejiro Oliver is pulling the country
down with his reports, as if I’m the corrupt
politician looting the country silly.
How are the mighty fallen, how are the
sacred desecrated; this seem to be the lots of
the doctors of medicine who are aggrieved
that the mask surrounding them has been
unmasked, the mystery behind their
insignificant work demystified and thus
Fejiro Oliver head must pay for it. Truth be
told and the game of fairness played. This is
not the doctors of medicine we used to know,
and just as a Medical Director of the NMA
extraction called to express his view “Fejiro,
I must acknowledge your most unbiased
stand in this issue. You may have hurt my
medical colleagues but I can authoritatively
tell you that this is not the true way that the
health system is practiced. It is teamwork
with each medical officer dependent on each
other. NMA has become a political tool and
we of the progressive truly apologize for
their misdeed”.
We have shifted attention from Suntai
Danbaba return from the USA, with the
media agog of the medical strike. A medical
doctor who called summarized it, “Oliver,
you and your JOHESU cohorts have rendered
the news of Taraba State governor return
useless, rather all comments were directed at
the strike even broadcasted on BBM. You
may have succeeded in this battle, but we
will smoke you out”. Another fellow who
called very early in the morning thundered
brimstone that I have torn the country apart
with my report and he will personally fish
me out to deal with. Still yet followed
numerous messages that should I succeed in
getting Mr. Chukwu Onyebuchi removed as
the Minister of health, my days on earth are
numbered as I will go down with him.
Now, do I cower at threats of death, or do I
shiver at the sound of bullets pelted in my
skull? NO! Many Journalists have paid the
supreme price before now and if this strike
will lead to liberation and harmony in the
health sector, with me paying the price; so be
it. But know you this, you who have
promised to smoke me out. Fejiro Oliver
needs no smoking out; your colleagues see
me every day as we go out for games and
clubs to hang out; they encourage the work
we at secretsreporters do, even this one that
we have removed the ‘shield’ from them.
They have our pictures with them, just as
they have our addresses. We gave out our
phone numbers and email addresses to
enable us interact, so feel free to carry out
your threat. However, we have forwarded
your threats to the committee for the
protection of Journalists, Reporters without
border etc and they are aware of all we do.
Besides, there is a throne in heaven that
watches over the affairs of men. The throne
seats an incorruptible judge and that judge
watches over our lives and we shall he
To you who have called proposing seminars
and youth leadership series and have Fejiro
Oliver speak, do know this: I do not reject the
offers to speak due to threat. No! I do so to
focus on the liberation mission ahead, the
challenges that comes with reporting. We do
not report for fame or to globe trot; we
report to set straight the records
That said, let the truth continue and the
scales that have long blinded patients’ eyes
fall off.
With tears in my eyes I type, seeing dead
bodies dumped in the mortuary due to this
strike, dead bodies that would have been
living, had the pride of a profession not
consume them. Just few days that the nurses
left the sick baby unit (SBU), babies who
would have been the savior of the country
has been sent to early graves. This is the
wickedness of man as portrayed by Mr.
Chukwu Onyebuchi. Have these doctors of
medicine now realize that these nurses run
the hospital and not them as they claim? Do
they not know that the nurses are the fathers
and mothers of the patient who truly do all
the work, yet get no recognition? Just like an
American doctor confesses, “doctors will see
you anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes a day,
depending on how sick you are, and the rest
of the day is the nurse. They are the ones
making sure you get your pills and checking
that your vital signs aren’t dropping. If you
start vomiting, doctors will run out of the
room and the nurses will rush in. they
change your wound dressing and dress your
IV line, and clean disgusting things off you
even though you aren’t their only patient. I
learned that they are keys to be a good
doctor. You piss off the nursing staff and you
have a miserable career at that hospital.
They are as important as being a good doctor
as your medical degree, even more. If you
come out of the medical school with a chip
on your shoulder against nurses, you better
lose it fast. Because they will make or break
your training, and often know more than
you do. Be nice and they will teach you. A
good neurology nurse is often a better
neurologist than doctors that I have met. I
don’t understand physicians who adopt an
adversarial relationship with nurses. They
are depriving themselves of an education in
hospital wisdom.
On a difficult day on call, sometimes all it
takes is a sympathetic nurse to temporarily
add you to his/her patient list, steal you a
diet coke from the fridge and let you cry on
her/his shoulder for five minutes. It doesn’t
make the day any less busy, but helps you
absorb the punishment later”.
That’s a true confession from a trained
doctor in a system that works. We could
bring more or haven’t you heard that a
nurse is the health minister in Botswana, a
country who by WHO standard rank better
than Nigerian, which has been ran
underground by MBBS graduates? We do not
heat the polity nor wish to cause the country
to break up, but we want to break the
monopoly of a 12 percent professionals, who
according to one of them, become demi gods
the moment they go into specialization.
Almost all medical professions specialize,
just as they have knowledge of all branches
of medicine; what then is the crown of ego
that rest on our doctor of medicine head?
What do we say about the medical lab
scientist that can operate individually
without help from the doctors of medicine?
Scientists who the general body physicians
despicably call lab technologist to raise their
ego. For the various years I have fallen sick, I
reiterate that I have never needed the
services of a physician, but I have gone
countless to have the lab scientist carry out a
test on me, nurses taken care of me, doctor of
optometry administer treatment to me and
the DPT brought me back to normalcy. I
have visited the pharmacist (who graduates
as doctors, Pharm D) to get them prescribe
drugs which have made me whole or is it the
radiologist that I have gone to for scan that I
need mention? All of them have I met
without referral by the general body
physician. Is it the case of NYSC that I went
for years ago in the North and I fell sick in
camp, yet none of the youth corp. physician
could diagnose the case?
Travel wider, dear ‘doctor’ and know that in
the U.S, they have Doctor of Medical lab
science (D.MLS), and they manage the lab
together with pathologists in what is called
Matrix management. You call your
colleagues who spent years in school
paramedics; pray, define who a paramedic?
Live and let’s live!
Let the speck fall off the masses eyes and let
the deceit stop. You accuse secretsreporters
of not medically grounded and thus report
fiction. Deny it that you do a course in
physiotherapy apart from your year one,
which is if you ever do at all. Lie to
Nigerians that the doctors of physiotherapists
don’t get first hand contact with patients.
Spread the lies that radiographers/
radiologists who are exposed to radiation
and carry out ORIF on an orthopedic patient
snap only pictures and unable to read what
they film. Keep the falsehood on that
pharmacists who make the drugs your
patients use are just dispensers. Let your
conscience guide you as you pedal lies to the
innocent public. Tell us that the years they
spent in medical school was just to learn
photography, (a course we journalists
studied in school), sell drugs, take blood
samples or just learnt how to use infrared to
relieve pains? Now that the strike is on; Oh
ye almighty doctors, do the job. Care for the
sick babies and patients that their parents,
the nurses have left under your care. Carry
out the pathology test that you claim to know
and snap the pictures you say the imaging
scientists do.
How long will this deception live that only
MBBS graduates should be CMD.? Do we tell
it to the world how OAUTH CMD made the
hospital to be sealed for not paying tax for
six years, hence owing #3 billion? Was it
that the taxes were not been deducted from
salary? Obviously no, rather it disappeared
into thin air, a case of mismanagement. The
various ministers of health in USA, France
and numerous countries are not MBBS
practitioners, but a ministry where nurses
and other medical practitioners have
headed. Are we no longer copying the
western world again? Do we dance only the
dance when it suits our dance steps? The
minister of health has failed us and his sack
is long overdue. The president I know may
not give a damn, but he cares about the loss
of lives. We know that he feels the pain and
Nigerians on bended knees are pleading that
you ask Onyebuchi to resign honorably.
Secretsreporters has confirmed that the
Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Abeokuta has
become a ghost land
“The JOHESU strike embarked upon by
health workers to drive home their demands
for equity and fairness in the sector has left
the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Aro, Abeokuta
a ghost town. Whereas, the NMA president
and his cronies have vowed and boasted to
keep the health sectors running even in the
absence of other health workers. However,
only 2 days into the strike, the usually
bustling compound of the hospital has been
turned to a ghost town as service areas were
under lock and key and most wards have
been deserted. Rather than accept their
failure and inability to run a health system,
Chukwu’s cronies in the compound have
been employing various tactics ranging from
intimidation, cheap blackmail, threats and
confrontation. Even the police were invited
but they were handled with maturity and for
the first time in my life, the police did not
allow themselves to be used cheaply and
dragged unnecessarily into a purely labour
dispute. However, in their grandiose
manner, these general body physicians still
carry their shoulders high and passing
various comments aimed at dampening our
spirits or intimidating other health
professionals. SOME OBNOXIOUS
PHYSICIANS IN ARO (Acting provost and
chief medical director): “I will not even
discharge my patients; I will only ask the
stable patients to manage the unstable ones’’
This implies that they recognize that they
can’t do it alone but rather than accept the
fact, they choose to utilize those who are not
trained to attend to clients. “Instead of the
paralysis of the hospital activities during
strikes, some hospital departments should be
outsourced e.g. Pharmacy, Laboratory e.t.c.”
‘’In an abnormal situation like this, we don’t
need to lose our sanity, become irresponsible
and wicked’’ Implying that strike is an act of
wickedness on the patient, and does not
matter what happens to the other health
professional. (A week old consultant): “I only
came like a unionist in order to advice you.
Once they dangle carrot before your people,
they will come back to work”. Other health
professionals should be aware of how they
are being perceived by these arrogant
physicians. A message to those that might
want to sabotage the efforts. “Their activists
should be sacked” (Another very proud
consultant): But they must know that not
even death can stop us in this struggle. We
are prepared to utilize the last drop of blood
in our veins to ensure that fairness and
justice is ensured. “Upon all these illegality
you are doing”. They think it is illegality to
demand for your rights, a right which the
industrial court has ruled should be granted”
Q1.Reasons for d strike:
The origin of this could be traced to
1985-1993 when late Prof. Olikoye
Ransome-Kuti, a medical practitioner and a
leader of Nigerian Medical Association was
the Minister of Health under Gen Ibrahim
Babangida as Head of state. Olikoye
discriminated against non ‘medical
practitioners’ in many ways, namely: wrong
interpretation of d phrase-”medically
qualified “which he claimed meant ‘Medical
Practitioners’ instead of “Health care
Professionals’, the refusal to implement the
Industrial Arbitration Panel/National
Industrial Court ruling in favour of Nurses/
Midwives on d issues of recognizing Nurses
as a profession, creation of a directorate for
them in the FMOH since then, the approval
of a separate salary structure for Medical
and Dental practitioners(MSS/MSSS in 1991
with fat allowances ) to the detriment of
other professionals/workers. Regrettably,
subsequent Ministers of NMA extraction-
Profs Osotimehin and Onyebuchi Chukwu
have been trying to do same. The current
decision of JOHESU is to put an end to these
acts of neo-colonialism and Professionalism
which NMA and her members backed by the
Government through the Minister of Health
have subjected other Health Professionals/
workers to. Specifically, the current impasse
is based on: A 10-point demand submitted to
FMOH in Sept 2011- 4 issues referred to NIC
in June 2012(Skipping of salary level
CONHESS 10, Withdrawal of consultancy
status from non -NMA members, Non-
payment of Specialist allowance to allied
health professionals. Refusal to honour
March 2006 ruling of NIC on call duty and
other professional allowances. Please note,
agreement was reached on the 10th of May
2012 on five other. Issues viz; 1) promotion
of health professionals from CONHESS 14 to
15. (2),Call for implementation of )2008 Job
evaluation exercise, ( 3) The Abdullahi Bello
presidential committee report on Harmony.
(4)Upward review of retirement age as their
counter parts in d Universities. (5)
Reconstitution of Boards of Hospitals to
reflect the multi professional nature of d
sector. Finally, the 10th point is-the removal
of d Minister for discrimination.
Q2.On d issue of appeal: I am not aware if
the minister is honestly sincere about
this .Labour issues of this nature end at the
National Industrial Court. However if it is
true, it means the Minister does not want
peace in the health sector and Mr. President
should do away with him immediately.
Please be informed that both parties to the
dispute-JOHESU/FMOH agreed inter-alia in
June 2012 that the outcome of d NIC would
be acceptable to us. Prof Chukwu is
following the footsteps of his seniors-Profs
Osotimehin and Ransome Kuti who connived
with NMA leaders to unleash terror on other
Health Professionals’/Workers by refusing to
implement relevant awards .Enough is
Q3. On why JOHESU, not individual union.
JOHESU is for an improved health care
delivery nationwide: Each Union is
autonomous and may embark on strike
independently after fulfilling the approved
rules but where all Unions have common
cause, JOHESU comes in to play that role. In
the case of NMA, it is not a registered Trade
Union; therefore, anytime it embarks on
strike, it does so illegally. Henceforth, any
group or association which is not legally
registered as a trade union and carries out
trade union activities would be dealt with
accordingly. Conglomeration/coalition of
five registered Trade/Industrial Unions was
formed in 2008 to promote unity, harmony
and teamwork (end)
My dear President, hearken to the voice of
reason. Do we give you the full profile of
your minister how and why he was removed
as Medical Director of Ebonyi State specialist
hospital without his knowledge for actions
such as this and other issues? We will, but in
due time! Our health must not be played
politics with by a minister who has shown
his incompetence managing one hospital. If
you could sack the minister of youth
development, Mr. Inuwa Abdul-Kadir for
acts not as grievous as Onyebuchi; do same
to this minister of health.
This is the deciding moment of truth, a time
to take a stand to collectively stop monopoly
in the health sector. The actions we take
today are the history which our generations
will judge us with. Mr. President, think of the
calamity that will happen should state and
local government hospitals join this strike on
28 th of August. JOHESU is on the way to
Calvary and the NMA is acting the Romans,
but, and it’s a big but; should they mount the
deadly cross, there may be no savior and we
will pay with our blood. What will posterity
remember you for when this medical
genocide takes place under your presidency?
Fejiro Oliver, a Journalist can be reached on
secretsreporters@gmail.com and
+2348026797588 (sms only please). You can
now follow on twitter @fejirooliver86 and
Facebook fejirooliver86


  1. don't normally like commenting on things like this but I can't help it. my dear you sound so myopic n less informed. medicine n surgery is a proud course, only for a few priviledged individuals. it should be renamed medicine n suffering because doctors suffer a lot. from writing jamb to becoming a consultant. its a profession with a calling, if u are not called, u can never make it, if u insist, u will never be happy practicing it. that doctors r proud. yes they hv every right to be. people should respect them n their pride n stop being envious. in every sector, there is always a leader, a primary school teacher can never become a minister of education or a vc of a university a position for professors, not to talk about d judiciary. its high time other people in the health sector realized the leadership role of doctors n stop being envious of doctors.
    u go to a pharmacist n he prescribes drug for u, u go to a lab scientists n he prescribes drugs for u, likewise a radiographer don't worry, continue until u present with complications n u expect the doctor to do miracle for u. y don't u go for them to remove ur burst appendice n drain ur subdural haematoma. all fingers are not and can never be equal my dear. respect ur doctor because he is a partner with God in preservation of lives.

  2. Nice one, please keep it up. This is worth having in the book of chronicle.