Another crisis is looming in the health sector if a threat by the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives to embark on indefinite strike is anything to go by. The association on Wednesday issued a one week ultimatum to the Federal Government to comply with the judgment of the National Industrial Court or face a nationwide strike action from Sunday midnight, February 23.
In a rare show of understanding, the association, however, exempted its members in the Northeastern state of Borno from joining the industrial action “to prevent further straining the already bad security and social welfare situation in that state”.
The National President of NANNM, Mr. Alani Adeniji, who gave the warning at a press briefing in Abuja, said the association’s patience “has been taken for granted by the government”.
He said, “An ultimatum of seven days has been given to the Federal Ministry of Health to comply with the final judgment of the National Industrial Court after an appeal filed on April 25, 2012 by the Ministry of Health which was dismissed in January 2014 by the Court of Appeal, Abuja. The continuous refusal by the FMoH to comply in full, the implementation of Industrial Arbitration Panel awards and subsequent NIC judgments for the past 34 years can no longer be tolerated by Nurses and Midwives.
“Since Nurses have maintained patience for 34 years from May 1981 when the IAP verdict was given, coupled with the fact that subsequent NIC judgments and even appeal by the Ministry were all in the favour of NANNM, the government has failed to implement the judgments.
“Due to the non-compliance to the court judgments, the entire Nurses and Midwives in the three tiers of government will commence an indefinite and total strike by 12 midnight of Sunday February 23, 2014”.
Adeniji urged the government “to be civil enough to respect court judgements” stressing that “if our association can take the pains of not taking the laws into their hands and go to court, the FMoH has no justification to withhold our rights and privileges”.