National Assembly Meets Striking Resident Doctors Today

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The President of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Emeka Orji, on Thursday said the National Assembly had invited the association for a meeting on Friday (today).

The invitation came against the backdrop of NARD’s five-day nationwide warning strike, which entered day two on Thursday.

Residents doctors across 79 tertiary health facilities embarked on the strike to press home their demands, including an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of the current gross salaries of doctors.

The doctors also want immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals, and immediate withdrawal of the bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to render five-year compulsory services in Nigeria before being granted full licences to practise.

Speaking during a programme on Arise Television, the NARD President said the National Assembly had invited the doctors for a meeting.

He said, “All we are hearing in the media is that the government is negotiating with us but nobody has called us for any negotiation except they are negotiating with other associations different from NARD.

“It was only this afternoon, a few minutes ago that I was informed of a meeting convened by the National Assembly tomorrow (Friday). Just this afternoon, I saw the invitation but outside that, there has not been any negotiation since Monday, May 15, 2023, that our National Executive Council had an extraordinary session and declared the five-day strike that commenced yesterday.”

The NARD President said he wished the Federal Government luck on the threat by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, that the Federal Government might replace the striking resident doctors with ad hoc staff.

“Part of the major demands we have in our notice of strike is for the Federal Government to quickly replace the clinical staff that has left the system. We have been saying that we have a massive manpower shortage in our hospitals and we do not have enough numbers to contain the influx of patients in the hospitals across the country.

“So, if the government, who has refused to do that, is now waking up to employ ad hoc staff as a way for resolving this issue, I wish them good luck; but just like I have been saying, as long as they do not negotiate in good faith, the crisis in the health sector will continue; our members are watching,” Orji said.

Meanwhile, the strike, which started on Wednesday, continued on Thursday, with medical services hampered in federal hospitals around the country.

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