Doctors under the aegis of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) will begin a five-day nationwide strike today following Federal Government’s failure to implement a mutual agreement to meet demands for improved welfare and other emoluments with the urgency the situation requires.
What this means is that public health institutions across the country will be without the services of medical doctors, thereby, leaving sick patients and Nigerians, who require medical attention at the mercy of often expensive private hospitals.
The National President of NMA, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, who made this known on Tuesday, said the strike will be called off in the first instance after five days and resume after the yuletide season in the second phase, barring any positive response from the FG.
Enabulele said the association was making good its threat to down tools following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum issued weeks ago.
According to him: “We had a meeting called by the Minister of Labour and this meeting lasted from 3.30p.m. on Monday till 5a.m. on Tuesday.
“The meeting had in attendance, ministers of Labour and Health; Chairman, House Committee on Health, and a delegation of the NMA.
“Others included the Permanent Secretary, Labour and Health, representatives of Salaries & Wages, the Head of Service and Budgets Office.
“The meeting raised a memorandum of understanding, MoU, where the government side signed a promissory note that they will attend to the demands by January 6, 2014.
“It was also agreed that if government could meet the minimum demand of the issues at stake in terms of income, wages and discrepancies in our salaries and lastly funding of healthcare, we would reconsider.
“If they can reach at least one of the demands, we will reconsider our stand. But they only came up with the MoU, which was not part of our agreement with doctors.”
Enabulele noted that NMA cannot on basis of the MoU decide whether or not to continue with the strike.
“Only members can take decision because they have once been and deceived by an MoU”, he added.