The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria, have hinted that they are ready to suspend their planned resumption of strike on Friday May 7th 2021, following an exhaustive meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other stakeholders on Tuesday.
The Doctors at the resumption of the meeting with the Speaker, which began last week, said they would suspend the planned resumption of the strike as soon as they get payments for their salary arrears ranging from one month to five months.
In a statement released on Tuesday 4th May 2021, by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Lanre Lasisi, stated that the Doctors took the position after the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed said funds were available for the payments, assuring that her Ministry would pay immediately a verified list of beneficiaries was received.
However, when the Directory-General of the Budget Office Mr Ben Akabueze who was one of the stakeholders at the meeting confirmed that his office was in receipt of the list, the Minister gave her words that payment will be made on May 7th 2021.
The Resident Doctors had on April 1 embarked on an indefinite strike making some demands which included: Non-payment of House officers, abolishment of bench fees, non-payment of national minimum wage, salary shortfall for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The issue involves all health workers with a cost implication of about N23billion which the Minister of state for health Olorunimbe Memora described as huge and complicated.
Also, there was a claim that the matter was before a court, which the Speaker asked the Minister of Health, Dr Osahie Ehanire to produce the relevant court papers to back the claims as Resident Doctors said their checks revealed that there was no pending court case anywhere on the matter.
It was then jointly agreed by the Resident Doctors, the Hosue led by the Speaker and the Ministry of health that the matter should be set aside until the court papers are provided.
Others present at the meeting which lasted up to late Tuesday evening, were the Deputy Minority leader, Toby Okechukwu, Minority Whip, Gideon Gwani, Chairman House Committee on Healthcare services Tanko Sununu, amongst others.
On the part of the executive arm, there were Minister of Health, Head of Service of the Federation, Chairman of the Committee of CMDs, Jafaru Momoh, the NARD President Dr Uyilawa, among others.
Recall that since he assumed office, Speaker Gbajabiamila has been on the issue of Resident Doctors who have threatened to embark on strike at different times.