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Lawyers in Anambra State have threatened to boycott all courts from June 10 to June 12 over hike on filling fees in the state.
A statement signed by Paschal Ugwuanyi, chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) in the state, notes that committee of chairmen and secretaries reached the resolution recently at Nnewi.
They state that the state government has refused to take any actions against the hike on filing fees in the courts after their complaints.
“All lawyers shall boycott all courts in the state commencing from Monday, 10th day of June, 2019 to12th day of June, 2019. The said boycott shall act as a call on Anambra State government to come to the cries of the masses and take necessary actions in the overall interest of the masses.
“But failing which, further drastic measures shall be taken against the government of Anambra State,” they add.
They also call on the branch chairmen of all branches of NBA in the state to ensure that all lawyers comply with these resolutions.
Meanwhile, the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Awka, patients are suffering untold hardship over more than three weeks indefinite strike embarked upon by doctors of the hospital.
Members of Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) of the hospital embarked on an indefinite strike on May 13 over what they called poor working conditions, while Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) commenced a seven-day warning strike on June 3 over the same demands.
MDCAN says it would embark on indefinite strike action by the third week of June if Anambra government failed to address their grievances, which bothered on general welfare and proper equipment for the hospital.
When BusinessDay visited the hospital on Friday, most patients in the wards had deserted the hospital, while those still there were those yet to pay their bills but without hope of medical attention.
The affected wards are Male and Female Surgical Wards, Male and Female Medical Wards, Children’s Ward, Gynaecology, Antenatal and Babycare Wards.
Emergency medical services were going on at the General Outpatients Department (GOPD), Specialist Out Patients (SOP), and Accident and Emergency and Children Emergency Response Units.
Ngozi Okeke, a patient in the female surgical ward, who said she had spent over a year there, said she had been advised to leave COOUTH for another hospital where she could get medical attention.
Okeke said she was brought in from Lagos last year after a container fell on her and had neither stood nor walked since the accident.
She said she could not leave the hospital as it would aggravate her condition and called on the state government and the striking doctors to find a lasting solution to the face-off to enable them attend to patients.
“I have been lying faced down for more than a year, doctors have been working on my wound which is gradually healing but the surgery has not been done.
“For about two weeks, no doctor has attended to me because they said they are on strike. They have said I should go to another hospital but that is not possible, I cannot move from here because I am in pain.
“Even if we pay the bill, I cannot go from here because of the severity of my condition, so I am calling on Anambra government to give these doctors what they want so that they can attend to us, moving out is not the option,” she said.
Emeka Iloh, a patient in the scanty medical ward, said he was yet to recover but could not go because his mother could not pay the cost incurred.
Iloh said most families had moved out fellow patients in the ward because the doctors were no longer seeing them.
“I have been here for three months, my problem is that I had an accident which affected my bones, my joints cannot bend normally and I have injury at the back of my lap, they have been treating me but I am not alright.
“They said I should go but the doctors are not here to evaluate what they have done, I have not seen them for about three weeks because they are on strike,” he said.
Emeka’s mother, Susan Iloh, who is with him in the virtually empty ward, said they were still in the hospital because of their inability to pay the bill served them.
According to Iloh, we were given a bill but we are not able to pay that is why we are still here, we need help, I beg the good people of Nigeria to help us pay N340,000 so that my son and I can leave here and go to another place.
Okoye Ikechukwu, another male patient, said he had been discharged and was waiting for his bill to be given to him for payment so that he could go.
Reacting to the situation, Basil Nwankwo, Chief Medical Director of COOUTH, said efforts were on to bring back the doctors to their duty posts.
Nwankwo said the strike notwithstanding; the hospital management had ensured the public had access to emergency services in the GOPD, SOP, and Emergency Units to ensure the masses did not suffer.
He said neither the state government nor the hospital management was relaxed over the development, while noting that the impasse would soon be over.
Apart from the doctors whose absence was obvious, activities at the hospital were normal as other staff members were on their duty posts, including the nurses in the deserted wards.