The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Monday in Abuja warned that nobody should hold him responsible for the planned strike by doctors under the banner of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
The NMA on Sunday had directed its members nationwide to commence withdrawal of services in public hospitals from Wednesday should the Federal Government fail to implement the agreement it reached with them especially on some health sector challenges, workplace conditions and the conditions of service of doctors.
The NMA had said Nigerians should hold Prof. Chukwu responsible for whatever happens during the strike which comes at Yuletide season.
But in an interview with journalists during the inauguration of the Boards of Management of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi; National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki; and National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna, the health minister said government was still discussing with the leadership of NMA over the strike.
He said, “Why would I be held responsible for the strike? Okay, I am now saying they should work so that nobody will say I asked them to go on strike. Actually, seriously speaking, there is no basis to hold me responsible. When I now imagine that each group feels I am not doing well for them.
” I know I am doing the right thing. It would have been absurd if only the non-doctors were accusing me; they would have said I am biased. If my colleagues are accusing me, this means I am for the truth. I don’t look at people’s face; what I want is in the interest of all Nigerians.”
“Of course, any of us can be a patient (at the hospitals when strike commences). I am still pleading; we are still talking with them”, he said.