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FG appeal to resident doctors to shelve planned strike

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The Federal Government has appealed to Resident Doctors to shelve their threat of embarking on a nationwide strike in the country.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the appeal at a conciliatory meeting with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Recall that NARD had threatened to shut public health care facilities beginning from April 1, over unpaid salaries and other welfare packages.

Ngige said that majority of the welfare issues under contention were almost resolved even before the letter of compliant and notification of a planned strike action was delivered at the ministry

”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. We are also 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.

He, therefore, called on the Resident Doctors to consider the plight of the 80 per cent of the citizenry in need of healthcare services, should they withdraw their services.

He said that as a conciliator, the complaint had been adequately communicated with the relevant ministries, adding that several meetings were ongoing and proposals drawn to address the situation.

Also, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr Abdullahi Mashi, appealed to the doctors to reconsider embarking on the strike.

Mashi urged the doctors to reconsider their decision as most of the issues on ground were almost resolved.

“Most of the issues are almost solved, the only thing remaining is to get the commitment of NARD to suspend the strike action. All efforts are being put in place,” Mashi added.

The President of NARD, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, who spoke on behalf of his members, said that they looked forward to resolving all issues and grievances during the meeting.

Joan Nwagwu

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