Efforts by the House of Representatives to reconcile striking resident doctors under the aegis of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government seem to have hit the rocks as the latter have taken the former to the Industrial Court of Nigeria (ICN).
It was gathered that the executives of NARD, led by their President, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, would today be arraigned by 10:00 a.m. at the ICN, Abuja, by the Federal Government.
The Federal Government is urging the court to ask the doctors to go back to work, failure of which it would enforce the ‘no work no pay’ policy.
The House of Representatives, led by the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Dr. Tanko Sununu, had last week Monday tried to broker a truce.
Sununu is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and a former National Secretary/Secretary General, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
Present at the peace meeting were: the House members’ team; Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora; Director of Hospital Services, Dr. Adebiyi Adegbite; Director General of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze; Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) Director, Ben Isika; Chairman, Committee of Chief Medical Directors, Jaf Momoh, of the National Hospital Abuja; and 10 other Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) including that of University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Maiduguri, Gombe, Jalingo, and Gwagwalada.
Unfortunately, the talks broke down after the doctors accused the Federal Government of insincerity and swore to continue the strike until their demands are met including: payment of four to seven months’ salaries; hazard allowances; and insurance benefits of members that died on active COVID-19 duty.
It was also learnt that the NMA has disassociated itself from the industrial action embarked upon by the resident doctors.
It was learnt that NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, is accusing the leadership of NARD of not getting the Association’s approval before going on strike.
NMA is the parent body of all medical doctors in Nigeria while NARD is one of the subsidiaries and the militant arm.
Okhuaihesuyi, meanwhile, said: “The strike goes on. They said we were not supposed to go one strike. They have taken us to the industrial court. They said that under International Labour Organisation (ILO) law we are not supposed to go on strike after agreements reached with the Federal Government. The court case is by 10:00 a.m. today. They said we should tell the court why the ‘no work no pay’ rule should not be applied on our members for embarking on strike.
Follow us on social media
“We are asking Nigerians to come and see our plight and come to our aid. We are being oppressed. We are owed for four to seven months. Our members are suffering.”