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Strike: Doctors keep mum despite FG’s threat

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Doctors threaten strike, issue 14-day ultimatum to Buhari

Despite threats by the Federal Government, through the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, to enforce the ‘no work no pay rule against striking resident doctors today, indications emerged last night that the strike, now in its eighth day, is not likely to be called off soon, just as the parent body of all medical doctors in the country, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), has refused to comment.

President, NMA, Prof. Innocent Ujah, refused to comment on efforts the association is making to resolve the impasse between the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government.

Reacting to the threat from the Federal Government, President, NARD, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said: “They have not invited us for any kind of meeting, neither have they met our demands. Rather, we are getting threats of no work no pay. We can see which party is sincere to resolve the issue.”

NARD is the militant body of all medical doctors in the country and there are about 16,000 resident doctors working in Nigeria out of over 40,000 medical doctors.x

NARD had last Monday began a nationwide industrial action over unpaid salaries, benefits to families of members that lost their lives to COVID-19 pandemic and hazard allowances, improved conditions, and failure to domesticate Medical Residency Training (MRT) Act 2017 in states, among others.

Less than four months ago, between April 1 and 10, they were also on strike over the same issues and the strike was called off following a memorandum of understanding signed by the Federal Government and the leadership of NARD.

Okhuaihesuyi stated further: “There is no going back on plans to shut down public and government hospitals due to inability of the Federal Government to keep to its promise to the doctors in meeting their demands.x

“Even if they communicate to us now, there is no going back. It is now over 120 days after we signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). They should be ashamed for not being truthful. We cannot be working and not get paid. You make commitments with doctors and you don’t keep them,” he said.

On the negative effect the strike is having on ‘common’ Nigerians, he said: “The doctors are also human beings. Abia State owes doctors 19 months salary; Imo State eight and Ekiti two months. Those doctors who lost their lives have not got their insurance benefits and most of us are yet to get the paltry hazard allowance of N5,000. You bring out circulars that you are going to pay and yet you don’t. What will the doctor tell his or her landlord?

“We go to the same market with ‘common’ Nigerians and our children attend the same schools. How can we survive in the midst of this gross negligence on the part of government? If you were a medical doctor, would you be working in Nigeria? Little wonder more graduating doctors are leaving the country in droves. No wonder more Nigerians are seeking medical treatments abroad because they don’t trust the medical system in the country.”

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PHOTOS: Buhari on condolence visit to UAE

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President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in Dubai on a condolence visit over the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates.

Zayed Al Nahyan died at the age of 73 on May 13, 2022.

The country’s ministry of presidential affairs had declared a 40-day state mourning with flag flown at half-mast and the suspension of work in the public and private sectors for three days.

Buhari departed Nigeria on Thursday and arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Friday.

He was accompanied by Zubairu Dada, minister of state foreign affairs; Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy; Mohammed Bello, minister of federal capital territory, and Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation.

Below are photos.

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Protest in Abuja over council chairmen tenure extension

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Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory have taken to the streets to protest the tenure extension of six area councils’ chairmen and councillors.

The chairmen and councillors’ terms in office elapsed on Thursday and the newly-elected officials were supposed to be sworn in today.

But the FCT minister, Muhammad Bello, cited a court judgement and extended the officials’ tenure by one year.

Displeased by the extension, residents in the Gwagwalada Area Council on Friday morning took to the streets.

The residents, who barricaded the roads and made bonfires, are demanding a reversal of the decision.

The incident, it was gathered, obstructed vehicular movements in the area.

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Nigerian government moves to end ASUU, poly lecturers strikes, begins arrears payment

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ASUU

The Federal Government has commenced the payment of minimum wage arrears, which it owed lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as part of efforts to end ongoing strikes by the unions, The PUNCH has learnt.

The National President of ASUP, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, and the Chairman, ASUU FUTMinna, Dr. Gbolahan Bolarin, confirmed this in separate interviews in Abuja on Thursday.

The two unions are currently on strike following the inability of the government to meet their demands including the payment of minimum wage arrears and release of revitalisation funds, among others.

While ASUU commenced its strike on February 14, 2022, ASUP is currently on an initial two-week warning strike.

Confirming the payment on Thursday, Ezeibe, however, said that was just the beginning.

He said, “The government has started responding. They just started paying the salary/minimum wage arrears, the one they have refused to pay.

“However, that is just one of the demands, so we have not reached anywhere. They have not attended to the others, but I can confirm that people have started receiving alerts of the arrears owed.”

Also, Bolarin, said, “Some of my members got alert of their minimum wage arrears; their salaries are still pending.”

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