MEDICAL doctors in Nigerian government hospitals, under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), have threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to meet their demands.
The association in a letter addressed to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, signed by its President, Dr Emeka Innocent Orji, said processes for the strike would commence if the issues are not addressed before its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting slated for January 24th to 28th.
Parts of the letter read: “Sir, our January 2023 National Executive Council meeting has been scheduled for January 24th to 28th, 2023, and we can confirm very clearly feelers that if these issues are not sorted out before that meeting, our members will likely give us a mandate to immediately kick-start processes that will lead to a nationwide industrial disharmony in the health sector.”
The association had earlier issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government six months ago over irregularities in the new circular on an upward review of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF), outstanding payment of the arrears of the new hazard allowance, non-payment of the skipping arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016, and non-payment of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage to some of its members.
Other issues include the delay in the upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure(CONMESS), salary arrears of its members in state tertiary health institutions running into several months, including Abia, Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe States, and non-domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act (MRTA) in most states across the Federation.
However, NARD appreciated the government for its efforts in resolving some of the issues raised and asked that attention be given to other pending issues.
The association said the major ones amongst them are; “Omitted 2020 MRTF payment, irregularities in the new MRTF circular inconsistent with the Medical Residency Training Act, existing collective bargaining agreements and current economic realities and review of CONMESS salary structure.”
“Sir, we know how critical this period is and the chaos that will ensue if the government does not take steps to prevent this from happening, and so we humbly implore you to use your good office to resolve these issues before our January NEC meeting. Sir, we trust in your fatherly disposition and believe that you will come to our aid and save this nation from this imminent industrial disharmony,” the letter added.
The letter was also forwarded to the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary to the Government of Federation, Minister of Labour and Finance respectively, as well as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum( NGF), among others.
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.