Resident doctors in Nigeria are set to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike on Monday, Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, National President of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has said.
Mr Uyilawa said the directive to members of the association was issued after NARD held its national executive council (NEC) meeting on Saturday in southeastern Abia state.
“We are embarking on a total and indefinite strike on August 2, 2021,” Uyilawa said while addressing journalists after the NEC meeting, accusing the Nigerian government of failing to fulfil its own part of the agreement.
“You can recall we had a memorandum of action on March 31, 2021, and had an addendum to it on April 9, and since then, we still have had irregularities in the payment of salaries to the house officers,” he added.
“We had issues with them, being non-regular payment, and as part of the memorandum of action, it was said that they should be captured back into the IPPIS platform.
“You are aware that we lost 19 members to COVID-19 and death in service insurance was supposed to be paid to their next of kin.
“The last time we met the minister of labour and minister of health, we were told that our members are part of those to be given the insurance benefit, but we found out that their names are not even there.”
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is currently spending time in London for a ‘medical check-up’. He had on Monday travelled to the UK to also attend an education summit, his office said in a statement.
The Nigerian leader is expected to return in the second week of August.
Doctors embarking on strikes in the West African country isn’t unusual. On April 1, the medical practitioners had carried out an industrial action to protest government’s failure to fulfil an agreement signed with the union.
Following an agreement reached with the government, NARD suspended the strike. However, two months after the new agreement was signed, the doctors say the Nigerian government has failed to meet most of their demands.
By Abel Ejikeme