SWITZERLAND, JUNE 17 – Following the nationwide strike embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), the Federal government has threatened to take action against any doctor on its payroll who fails to resume work today, June 17.
Recall that NARD had embarked on a nationwide strike on Monday due to the Federal Government’s failure to meet demands made by the association.
A negotiation meeting convened by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige with the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, and the leadership of the Resident doctors, ended in a deadlock on Tuesday after many hours of deliberation.
Ngige, during the meeting, stated that health workers are the essential frontline officers during the coronavirus pandemic and have suffered great mishaps across the country.
According to him, the major issues have been taken care of, while other minor issues will also be taken care of.
He said “We have paid those allowances since last night and it was directly paid into the account of recipients.
“We are also hopeful that between the IPPIS office and the Central Bank, that before 24 hours they would all be credited for April and May.
“The payment wasn’t made for only Resident Doctors, but also for consultants, nurses, pharmacists, physiologist, mortuary attendants, ICU centers, and all health care workers in coronavirus designated hospitals and all Federal Medical Centres in designate states.
“We assumed that these issues have been settled because IPPIS has shown evidence.
“We have also agreed on matters that are in court, that we should step them down so that we do not enter areas that are in the purviews of the court.
“Also, on the issue of group life insurance and the employee compensation, they have been paid and we have equally said that they have no right to make claim for the resident doctors or any other health workers that must have had a mishap in the cause of work resulting in death.
“For those who do not die or have mishap or accidents in the cause of their work but became incapacitated, they can always make claims through the Employee Compensation Act, which the Federal Government have already activated.
”The appropriation for residence program has been captured in the 2021 budget and would roll over from 2020,” he said.
Also, Dr. Ehanire Osagie, while speaking said that Nigeria was the first country in the world where doctors went on strike during a global pandemic.
“The health of Nigerians is very important at this crucial time and we will ensure that the lives of Nigerians are protected, therefore, we will not allow our hospitals to be fallow.
“At this point, the health workforce is essential services and we have pleaded and have equally done everything to meet the demands that are being made by them.
“We at the Ministry of Health are ready to protect the lives of Nigerians, and we are not going to allow our hospitals to do otherwise.
“The resident doctors have told us that they are not returning to work very soon until certain conditions are met and truth be told, they cannot keep extending the goal post any time they like.
”So, Wednesday morning, those who report to work will be taken as those who are still in service, and the register will be taken and closed at 12 noon and by then we will know who wants to still be in service,” Ehanire said.
However, the doctors refused to return to the meeting after a recess was taken.
Remarking, National President, Dr. Aliyu Sokomba, said that the doctors would only call off the ongoing action within 24 hours if the government brings something tangible to the table.
“This is the only way that the strike can be ended within 24 hours,” he said,