Despite last-minute efforts by the Nigerian Government Members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Thursday commenced a nationwide indefinite strike. NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, announced the commencement of the industrial action during an interview on Sunrise Daily – a breakfast programme on Channels Television. “The strike commenced 8 am this morning, and we enjoin all resident doctors to start the strike immediately,” he said. The resident doctors, in a tweet on Thursday, said the strike was not intended to hurt the public.
The NARD had threatened to commence an ‘indefinite strike’ on Thursday if the Nigerian government fails to meet its demands including non-payment of allowances.
Mr Okhuaihesuyi said the resolution was reached after NARD’s extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Saturday.
Ahead of the planned strike, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Doctor Chris Ngige, during a reconciliatory meeting with the leaders of the union on Wednesday in Abuja, appealed to the aggrieved medical practitioners to have a rethink and sheathe their sword, stating that the Federal Government was making efforts to ensure their demands were met.
According to Okhuaihesuyi who led other leaders of the union to the meeting which lasted several hours, they were not strange to the government’s proposal.
Okhuaihesuyi stressed the need for the government to assume more responsibility, stressing that the decision to go on strike was for the benefit of all healthcare workers in the country.
“We had a meeting with the Minister of Labour from 4 pm till about 12am this morning; we insist that the implementation of what we wrote on the strike notice should be intimated immediately.
“We are not just doing this for resident doctors, we are doing this for all health workers … the government needs to be more responsible,” he added.