The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has postponed the start of a nationwide demonstration that was originally planned to begin on Wednesday, August 9.
In order to discuss the doctors’ ongoing strike action and the upcoming demonstration, federal government representatives met with the doctors on Tuesday.
Emeka Orji, the president of NARD, stated that whether or not the protest will continue would depend on how the meeting’s resolution was handled moving forward.
It was reported that Orji said that “the protest has been suspended. We review again in 72 hours”. Additionally, it was stated that the organization made the decision following a meeting with Godswill Akpabio, the president of the senate, and other key members of the upper legislative chamber.
Speaking to journalists, Orji said, “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,”
“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.
“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.”
Akpabio assured the doctors that the President Bola Tinubu administration will heed their requests. “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,” he 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.
“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 association had gone on an indefinite strike on July 26 as the government had not complied with its requests.
Some of the demands include paying the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) for 2023, releasing the one-for-one replacement circular right away, and doing an upward review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS).
Others include making good on consequential adjustment arrears that are still owed, as well as hazard and skipping allowance.