Resident Doctors Threaten Nationwide Strike

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has threatened to go on a nationwide strike if the Federal Government does not meet its demands.

The association made this known in a letter signed by its president, Dr Emeka Orji, to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, saying the processes for the strike would commence if the issues were not addressed before its January 24 to 28 National Executive Council meeting.

NARD had issued an ultimatum to the Federal Government six months ago over lingering unresolved issues affecting its members, some of which included the irregularities in the new circular on an upward review of the Medical Residency Training Fund, outstanding payment of the arrears of the new hazard allowance, non-payment of the skipping arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016, and non-payment of the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage to some of its members.

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Salary arrears of its members in state tertiary health institutions running into several months in Abia, Imo, Ondo, Ekiti and Gombe states, non-domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act in most states across the federation, among others.

The letter read in part, “Sir, our January 2023 National Executive Council meeting has been scheduled for January 24th to 28th, 2023, and we can confirm very clearly feelers that if these issues are not sorted out before that meeting, our members will likely give us a mandate to immediately kick-start processes that will lead to a nationwide industrial disharmony in the health sector.

“Sir, we know how critical this period is and the chaos that will ensue if the government does not take steps to prevent this from happening, and so we humbly implore you to use your good office to resolve these issues before our January NEC meeting. Sir, we trust in your fatherly disposition and believe that you will come to our aid and save this nation from this imminent industrial disharmony.”

NARD also copied the letter to the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Secretary to the Government of Federation, Minister of Labour and Finance respectively, as well as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, among others.

The association however commended the efforts of the government through its ministries, departments and agencies in resolving some of the issues raised, but said many of them remained largely unattended to, which has led to nationwide agitations among its members.