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Resident doctors to commence nationwide strike

By The Citizen
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The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) will commence a nationwide strike as from Monday midnight, its President, Dr Mohammed Askira, said in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja.

Askira stated that the Association had tried its possible best to ensure that the Nigerian populace did not suffer another disruption of medical services 'but the strike had become inevitable because government failed to respond to members' demands.'

The demands of the Association range from remuneration, injustice, enrolment of members into IPPIS, the lack of funding for residency training, victimisation of members by managements of hospitals, among others.

The Association president stated that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) failed to attend the meeting convened by the Speaker of National Assembly on June 14, which he noted was geared toward addressing the doctors' demands.

He said that a meeting of such nature ought to have taken pre-eminence in the schedule of the FMoH leadership since it had to do with the health and lives of innocent Nigerians.

He added that 'NARD had to painstakingly wait till the one week period of Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) in Jos before a final action was streamlined.

'This strike did not only become necessary but inevitable, going by the gross levity shown by the FMoH in handling our legitimate demands.

'As a body with human face, not ignorant of the negative effects of industrial actions, NARD went ahead and gave two weeks window to enable government to intervene.

'Luckily, the Hon. Speaker of the National Assembly swiftly intervened and appealed for a week's grace before the nationwide action which was graciously granted.

'However, the June 14 meeting could not hold because the leadership of the FMoH was not able to attend.

'Consequently therefore, we are now forced to embark on this avoidable indefinite nationwide strike.

'Initially, we gave government 21 days ultimatum from April 4th and the minister of health promised to intervene and resolve the matter before the end of the ultimatum.

'Few days later, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and NARD visited President Muhammadu Buhari, who then assured us that this government is ready to honour all signed agreements reached with previous administration.

'Our independent inquiry revealed that no significant progress was made; even the items that could be handled at the level of the FMoH were not really done.''

Askira then urged the Association members to ensure 100 per cent compliance, describing their demands as cutting across all doctors in institutions. (NAN)