The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Abuja chapter, on Tuesday, announced the suspension of its week-long strike.
The doctors began an “indefinite strike” last Tuesday over unpaid COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowance and the non-implementation of the variation of the 2018 promotion exercise.
Roland Aigbovo, the president of the ARD Abuja chapter, said in a statement that the doctors met on Monday and resolved to shelve the strike following the “payment of the COVID-19 hazard allowance and implementation of variation for some of her members who were successful in the 2018 promotion exercise”.
Mr Aigbovo, however, said the Abuja doctors will be joining the umbrella body, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) who commenced a nationwide “indefinite strike” on Monday.
The NARD president, Aliyu Sokomba, said the doctors downed tools over the failure of the government to meet some demands of the association made in June which included full payment and provision of hazard allowances and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs).
The doctors are also protesting the non-implementation of life insurance policy for their colleagues in the frontline.
“We just resumed the suspended strike which we embarked in June this year. We suspended the strike to give the government time to assess our concerns. Unfortunately, they failed to do so,” he said.
Meanwhile, the federal government has faulted the doctors’ decision to down tools, saying more than half of their demands have been addressed.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in a statement on Monday, said the government had already addressed six out of eight demands of the striking doctors.
In another development on Monday, another key organ of Nigeria’s health workforce threatened to down tools.
The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) said it would be left with no other choice than to embark on a nationwide seven-day warning strike if the government failed to meet its demands which includes payment of hazard and inducement allowance by mid-night of Sunday, September 13.
Reacting to the looming health sector crisis, Charles Akpan, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Labour, said Mr Ngige is planning to meet with the doctors who are already on strike before attending to the threat by JOHESU.
The COVID-19 has infected more than 55, 000 people in Nigeria, and killed over a thousand in Nigeria.