Strike: Resident Doctors’ Demands Absurd, Says Ngige

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has described the demands of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors in an ultimatum issued to the Federal Government as absurd.

Ngige said the government has given the doctors everything they want and their sense of entitlement is “too much.”

NARD had on Saturday given the Federal Government two weeks to meet its demands or face industrial disharmony.

The doctors are demanding 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 the immediate withdrawal and jettisoning 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.

They also want the immediate implementation of CONMESS, domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act and review of hazard allowance by all the state governments as well as private tertiary health institutions where any form of residency training is done; among others.

Speaking on Arise Television on Monday, Ngige said the doctors’ demands are absurd and have the option of leaving the country.

He said employers are entitled to keep employees’ salaries if they go on strike.

“If the NARD who we have been managing their matter, we are giving them everything they want, including their Medical Resident Training Fund, we are paying them, even when in training, pay them a full salary, pay them all the allowances and you decided that we have not done enough. Like I said before, you have an option to go. It is left for the education ministry and the health ministry to fashion out what they can do.

“You asked that a bill by one of the members of the House of Representatives be removed and that is one of the reasons you want to go on strike. How can the government tell a member who has done a private member’s bill… It is not even an executive bill, you now release it as one of the conditions of going on strike, that is absurd.

“The entitlements syndrome, the sense of entitlement is too much in this country and like I said earlier, you obey the law you look odd, you apply the law, you look odd or you are a wicked man. I don’t have any apologies for whatever I have done in the management of trade disputes,” Ngige said.

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