Eight days after house officers and interns at the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Lagos, downed work tools, the Ministry of Defence has not been able to bring an end to the strike.
Rather, officials of the defence ministry blame the ministry of finance for withholding funds, saying the finance ministry’s action is responsible for the doctors indefinite strike.
House officers and interns at the Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Lagos, on Monday, embarked on an indefinite strike.
According to the doctors, they are withdrawing their services over the refusal of the Ministry Of Defence to pay them six months outstanding salaries.
They said medical doctors under the defence ministry are paid far less than those under the Ministry of Health and that they have bee owed promotion arrears for three years.
Their grouse also include: IPPIS intentionally under-placing medical doctors since inception and a recent two months negotiated salary adjustment not being prepared.
In a notice titled ‘Notification of strike, addressed to the corps commander, Nigerian Army Medical Corps, Bonny Camp, Lagos’ and made available to PREMIUM TIMES, the doctors accused the Army of being insensitive to their “plights and various pleas to resolve the salary issue amicably”.
The notice read: “This is to notify you that we the house officers and interns employed by the Ministry of Defence having: considered the refusal of the ministry to pay up salaries since our appointments (six months ago),
“Their insensitivity to our plights and various pleas to resolve this salary issue amicably.
“Refusal to disburse payslip before payment of salaries and inability to meet up with the two weeks deadline of payments given to us by them, have decided to embark on strike action pending when our six months outstanding salaries are paid, alongside disbursement of payslip.”
But a senior staff in the ministry of defence who spoke under anonymity said the doctors’ claims were untrue. The source blamed the ministry of finance for the strike, claiming it has been the problem.
“Did anybody say it is not true we are owing them? The management has been doing what they have been doing. They have demanded for the money from the Minister of Finance but the Ministry of Finance has been the problem not ministry of defence. But we have been following them up,” he said.
“We had told those children the military had promised to pay this month so they should just exercise some patience. But instead of being patient, they decided to go on strike.
“Nobody pays house officers promotion arrears so what are they talking about? They are not permanent staffs so are not entitled to such. They are temporary staffs. Don’t take the story these children have been telling you,” the source said.