by ‘Jola Sotubo
Resident doctors in the country have maintained their stance on the ongoing strike after they accused the Federal Government of being insincere in their attempts to reach a resolution.
The doctors have said that they will continue the industrial action until the FG shows valid intent to meet their demands and make immediate payment.
The doctors disclosed this through their umbrella body, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), in a communiqué released after an unsuccessful meeting with representatives of the FG in Abuja.
Nigerian Eye reports:
The communique signed by the association’s president, Dr. Jubril Abdullahi; and the Acting Secretary-General, Dr. Udu Chijoke Udu, stated that all efforts to resolve the crisis had not been fruitful given that “government grossly fall short of the articulated demands.”
“All salaries and allowances of our members (House Members and Resident Doctors) must be paid in full with immediate effect,” the association insisted.
It said, “Government must release and implement the stakeholders’ agreement on residency training programme of July 5, 2013.
“Also there should be elaborate investigation of alleged victimisation believed to have been perpetuated against our members at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, Imo State.”
The doctors threatened that the ongoing indefinite withdrawal of services would be sustained until the above demands are met by the government.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has expressed shock at the position of the resident doctors.
Speaking through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Dan Nwomeh, the minister said all the salaries and allowances had been paid to the respective bodies and hospitals.
He said, “It is with shock and disbelief that resident doctors have followed this path, government has paid the money to the respective hospitals and agencies. The problem is that doctors are insisting on seeing alerts on their accounts before they call off the strike.”
Reacting to the minister’s position, Abdullahi said the association could no longer “trust the government” on any agreement until the problems confronting resident doctors are explicitly tackled.
“This is not the first time we have been talking; we have met, signed agreements, yet nothing has changed for more than 40 years now. They use money to go abroad, what about the poor who cannot afford to go abroad for medical attention?” he said.