Nigerian doctors call off strike

Nigerian doctors on duty

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) called off its strike on Sunday, one week after it began.

Resident doctors make up a large percentage of doctors in Nigeria’s tertiary hospitals.

The association in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES said its National Executive Council resolved to suspend the ongoing strike with effect from Monday by 8 a.m.

It said the decision to suspend the strike was taken in order to give the federal and state governments time to fulfil the outstanding demands following an appeal by the Speaker of the House of Representative, Femi Gbajabiamila, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and other stakeholders.

The association, however, said its national officials “shall continue negotiations with stakeholders and progress made shall be reviewed in four weeks during the next National Executive Council meeting in July.”

The association had on Monday embarked on an indefinite strike over unpaid salaries, non-payment of hazard allowance, and a dearth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals, among several other reasons.

The association said it decided to suspend the strike because some of its demands have been met by the government.

The government had threatened to invoke the ‘no work no pay rule’ rule if the union continued with its strike. However, the union called the bluff of the federal government.

The president of the association, Aliyu Sokomba, said the decision to return to work was made by over 300 members of its association across the country.

Mr Sokomba said the government has provided PPE to some hospitals.

He said the government would need to keep restocking the PPEs as they are consumables and non-reusable.

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On the other demands which focused on improving general welfare and protesting dismissals or pay cuts for doctors in two regions, Mr Sokomba said the secretary to the federal government, Boss Mustapha, has promised to intervene.

As part of measures to appease the striking doctors, the federal government on Friday released N 4.5 billion to 31 federal teaching and medical centres across the country which covers hazard and inducement allowances for the doctors for the months of April and May.

Other matters resolved included the reinstatement of disengaged resident doctors at Jos University Teaching Hospital.

He said the Chief Medical Director has been directed to pay their withheld salaries and comply with the provisions of the Medical Residence Training Act.

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