The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, issued a strike notice to the Federal Government on Tuesday via the Minister of Health, warning that it cannot guarantee continued industrial harmony if the issues presented are not addressed by May 29th, 2023.
In the letter tagged: “Notice of Strike Action”, jointly signed by the President of NARD, Dr Innocent Orji and Secretary-General, Dr Chikezie Kelechi, the duo, recalled that NARD had issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to resolve issues as contained in the ultimatum before its expiration on the 13th of May 2023.
The letter reads: “Regrettably sir, these issues have remained unresolved despite several attempts by NARD to get Government to resolve them. Rising from her Extra-Ordinary National Executive Council Meeting on Monday, 15th May 2023, NARD NEC resolved to embark on a Five – Day warning Strike commencing by 8:00 am on Wednesday, 17th May 2023, hoping that Government would see the need to resolve these issues urgently to avoid a further crisis in the health sector.
“We are always open to negotiation and any genuine efforts aimed at resolving these issues as quickly as possible. Please accept Sir, the assurances of our esteemed regards.”
Also in its communiqué issued at the end of the extraordinary National Executive Meeting, where they resolved to embark on a five-day warning strike, the doctors said the five-day warning strike will expire Sunday, 21st May 2023 while work resumes by 8:00 am on Monday, 22nd May 2023.
The communiqué also called on the Federal Government to address the issues raised before the handover date, adding that, the NEC will also review progress made during and after the strike in the next two weeks and decide the next line of action.
The NEC, however, regretted that the two-week ultimatum issued to the government expired days ago and they neither reached out to the Association nor made any significant moves at resolving the issues raised.
“A situation NEC considers embarrassing for a nation touted as the “Giant of Africa. NEC frowned at this development and wondered how the Government could claim to have the interest of the Nigerian citizens at heart and still neglect such a well-publicized ultimatum.
“NEC regrettably observed that most of the issues raised had been contained in previous ultimatums issued to Government last year but still extended to the present time despite the refusal of the Government to act on them. NEC wondered how we got to this point as a nation and hoped this dangerous trend is reversed as quickly as possible,” NEC stated.
Some of the demands of the doctors reviewed by NEC include; immediate massive recruitment of clinical staff in the hospitals and abolishment of the bureaucratic limitations to the immediate replacement of Doctors and Nurses who leave the system. Immediate infrastructural development in our hospitals with a subsequent allocation of at least 15 per cent of the budgetary provisions to health in line with the Abuja declaration of 2001 and immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of the gross salary of Doctors among others.