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Nigerian govt meets resident doctors in bid to avert April 1 strike

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Waba’s Monday protest directive unlawful, Ngige tells workers

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has disclosed that a team of Federal Government officials will meet with the leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Wednesday, in a bid to avert a planned strike by the medical practitioners, scheduled to commence April 1.

Ripples Nigeria gathered that before today’s meeting, the officials of the Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Labour and Employment, had met members of the Committee of Chief Medical Directors and a team of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to avert the strike.

NARD had on Sunday called on its members to commence “a total and indefinite strike” by 8am, on Thursday, if the Federal Government refuses to accede to its demands.

Ngige had in an interview with journalists on Tuesday, said, “I was in a meeting with the government’s side, the Ministry of Health, the Committee of CMDs and the Registrar of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

Read also: Resident doctors give Nigerian govt four conditions for suspension of nationwide strike

“We are meeting with NARD leadership tomorrow (today). A lot of things have been put in motion to address their concerns.

“For example, on the issue of house officers, I expect that by today, those outside the payroll of MDCN, we agreed that we start that payment while we do our matching of the nominal roll and approved payroll which the MDCN claimed was overshot.

“We are going to treat all, not only the ones that involve NARD. Some issues involve the NMA (Nigerian Medical Association) as a bigger body and JOHESU (Joint Health Workers Union of Nigeria). So, we are going to take those after this.”

Meanwhile, the NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, in a different interview with newsmen, said the association and her members had at each time, in the spirit of patriotism, shown uncommon understanding and extreme patience in the face of poor working conditions.

“Nigerian doctors currently have about the worst remuneration across the world and this has only worsened in recent time. The paltry $10 monthly hazard allowance a year after a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Federal Government was yet to be reviewed.

“Currently, well over 2,500 of our members are owed salaries ranging from three to five months even as they contended with the triple outbreaks of Yellow fever, Lassa fever and the COVID-19 pandemic, among others.”

“NARD has received letters of invitation from the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and the Honourable Minister for Labour. NARD would be attending this scheduled meeting on finding a way forward.”

Among others, the doctors are demanding payment of salaries owed house officers and upward review of the hazard allowance to 50 per cent of the consolidated basic salaries of all health workers, and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance, especially in state owned-tertiary institutions.

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