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Resident doctors suspend protest after meeting with FG

Resident doctors suspend protest after meeting with FG
August 09
05:35 2023

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has suspended its nationwide protest earlier scheduled to commence today, August 9.

Federal government representatives had met with the doctors on Tuesday over their ongoing strike action and the planned protest.

Emeka Orji, NARD president, had said the outcome of the meeting would determine if the protest would go on.

Orji told TheCable after the meeting that “the protest has been suspended. We review again in 72 hours”.

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TheCable also learned that the association took the decision after a meeting with Godswill Akpabio, the senate president, and other principal officers of the upper legislative chamber.

“We had a very fruitful meeting with the senate led by the president of the senate and from our discussions with them, we are very hopeful that when we table our discussions today before the NEC, something positive would come out,” Orji told journalists.

“From our interaction with the president of the senate and the practical demonstration he did before us today, we are very confident that there would be light at the end of the tunnel in the next 24 hours.

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“Because of the intervention of the president of the senate, who is the number three citizen and the assurance he has given us, our planned national protest has been cancelled while the decision on the ongoing strike would be taken as soon as we meet.”

On his part, Akpabio assured the doctors that the President Bola Tinubu administration will accede to their demands.

“I thank you on behalf of the senate for honouring us with your decision not only to cancel the planned public protest but to also call off the strike in the interest of the suffering masses,” Akpabio said.

“Your demands are well noted and let me assure you that as soon as a minister in charge of health is appointed, the senate will work with him or her to expeditiously address all your grievances.

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“The President Bola Tinubu-led administration is doctors friendly and that explains the large number of medical practitioners he has appointed into his cabinet.”

THE DEMANDS

The association had embarked on an indefinite strike on July 26 over the failure of the government to implement its demands.

Parts of the demands include payment of the 2023 medical residency training fund (MRTF); immediate release of the circular on one-for-one replacement and upward review of the consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS).

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Others are payment of outstanding arrears of consequential adjustment, hazard and skipping allowance.

Amid the strike action, NARD had announced that its members would embark on peaceful nationwide protests from Wednesday, August 9.

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The association said the protests would involve picketing of the federal ministry of health, the office of the head of the civil service of the federation, and the federal and state tertiary health institutions across the country.

Speaking on Channels Television on Sunday, the NARD president had said it fixed its protest on Wednesday to allow some time for the federal government to intervene.

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“We had options of starting these protests on Monday but we shifted it to give the federal government enough time to intervene,” he had said.

Resident doctors are medical school graduates training as specialists. They are a critical mass of frontline healthcare provision in Nigeria and dominate the emergency wards of the nation’s hospitals.

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