Regina Otokpa, Abuja
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), has insisted on continuing with its ongoing strike action, until both federal and state governments meet all its demands.
This was the resolution reached by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union, as contained in a communique reached at the end of a virtual extraordinary meeting which held on Wednesday.
The communiqué reads in part: “The NEC unanimously voted that the ongoing total and indefinite strike that started on the 1st of April 2021 be continued until the federal and state governments of Nigeria met up with our demands as captured in our earlier communique and reiterated above
“We want to use this medium to reiterate our commitment to the smooth running of all tertiary institutions in the country and the provision of specialist healthcare to Nigerians but we need to first of all care for our own health and welfare in order to give standard care to our patients. This is in line with the our physician oath.”
The minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, had said NARD has lost the legal and moral justification to continue the strike, adding that the seven points raised by the union have been substantially addressed.
But the union noted that government has not been insincere in keeping to promises made, but spewing misinformation to the public, stressing that a majority of its demands were yet to be attended to.
“The NEC painfully observed that despite all the efforts of by the National officers committee ( NOC )to ensure that the Federal Government do the needful to prevent the ongoing strike, Government has continued in their insincerity of promises hence the current stalemate.
“As at today, although payment have been made to some of them, the payment is marred with so many irregularities. Most of them are still not paid.
“None of these Doctors who have worked for over four months has been paid. Our members in states like ABSUTH, IMSUTH and UNIMEDTH are still being owed twenty, five and four months salaries respectively.
“The hazard allowances has remained five thousand naira (5000) for over thirty (30) years. For the Honourable Minister of Labour & Employment (HMOL&E) to feign ignorance of this on national television today leaves a lot to be desired. This is an all time low coming from someone who has been in the Nigeria senate where monthly hardship allowance for senators is N1,242,122.70.
“Demanding for five weeks for it’s review despite the ongoing strike is really shameful. A sincere government should immediately call all stakeholders together to address this issue once and for all.”
NARD also noted that payment of service insurance to deceased health workers, payment of salary shortfalls of 2014, 2015 and 2016 in all federal institutions including state owned institutions as earlier agreed and the universal domestication/implementation of the 2017 MRTA by all Federal Government and state-owned training institutions amongst others, have been left unattended to.