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April 21, 2021

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Senate wants resident doctors to call off strike

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The Senate on Thursday appealed to members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to call off its nationwide industrial action.

The Chairperson, Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, made the call on the sidelines of a Public Hearing on the Federal Medical Centre, Mubi, Adamawa Establishment Bill 2021.

Mr Oloriegbe, while making his remarks, said before the strike the committee met representatives of the doctors with a view to resolving the issues in contention and averting the action ultimately.

“I want to put on record that as the National Assembly, we made an effort to avert the doctors going on strike.

“We had a marathon meeting just before Easter; on March 21 specifically, and we agreed on all the issues that are raised by the resident doctors.

“Particularly three are very germane. One is payment of salary to house officers which as at that time they also agreed that has essentially been cleared and that was the major reason they wanted to go on strike.

“The second one was what they claimed that there should be payment to local resident doctors which was an aberration where there was not supposed to be local but the government agreed to commence payment which has started to be done.

“Those are the two critical ones that were germane. Most of the other issues that were raised; they were not even issues within the purview of the federal government because they were issues of state governments that owed salaries.

“The Federal Ministry of Finance confirmed that a committee has been set up to look at the other aspects.

“So we are surprised that the resident doctors went on strike. However, we are not reneging,” Mr Oloriegbe said.

The committee chair further appealed to the doctors to resume work while negotiations and discussions would continue on outstanding issues.

On the conversion of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to a steering committee, Mr Oloriegbe said the committee was not consulted.

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“I heard that the PTF on COVID-19 has been converted to a steering committee. We were not consulted in terms of what will be the operational mechanism and so on.

“I will ask my Clerk to invite the ministry to come and explain to us the process of that response, because we represent Nigeria.”

Earlier, sponsor of the Bill on Federal Medical Centre, Mubi, Adamawa, Aishatu Dahiru, said it was abundantly clear and socially necessary that Mubi should have a federal medical centre to bridge the health living standard gaps of the people.

(NAN)

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