The Federal Government, have pleaded with Doctors to consider the plight of the 80 per cent of Nigerians in need of healthcare and discard their planned nationwide strike scheduled to begin today, April 1st.
Speaking on behalf of the government, Dr. Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment pleaded with the leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) at a meeting in Abuja.
“We are in a very bad period health wise; the world over and Nigeria is not an exception so, we have to think about the generality of Nigerians because right now, 80 per cent of Nigerians are our patients because of the COVID-19 pandemic so we have to look at the issues that way and see how we can get the best out of this situation,” he said
TheFact Nigeria reports that, according to Dr. Ngige, majority of the welfare issues under contention were almost resolved even before the letter of complaint and notification of a planned strike action was delivered at his ministry.
Ngige, before the meeting went into a closed session, said discussions were ongoing on health hazard allowance, noting that as a conciliator, the complaints of the doctors have been adequately communicated to relevant quarters.
The minister added that several meetings had been ongoing and proposals were drawn up to address the situation before it degenerates into a strike.
He said: “We are here because we have started solving your issues. We put up proposals with given timelines on how to deal with them. We will look at those proposals with you, fix adequate timelines so that the people on government side will be implementing and marking them as they execute them.
“I have held informal meetings with the finance ministry and they told me they have started solving some of the problems, the two committees in the National Assembly have also tried to get you and your employers on same page. We have to intervene to ensure industrial peace in the health industry.
Abdullahi Mashi, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, who represented the Minister, also appealed to the doctors to reconsider the planned strike.
He reiterated that “Most of the issues are almost solved the only thing thing remaining is to get the commitment of NARD to suspend the strike action. All efforts are being put in Place.”
NARD President Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said his colleagues were looking forward to resolving all issues and grievances during the meeting.
The doctors had resolved to commence “a total and indefinite strike” beginning from 8am today, if the Federal Government failed to meet its demands.