By Asmau Ahmad
The Federal Government said negotiations are on-going with stakeholders over the five-day warning strike embarked upon by members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Wednesday.
Fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, Director of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Morenike Alex-Okoh, said the strike was of concern for government.
“The situation with the doctors’ strike is of concern to government and the negotiations have been on-going.
“We will continue under the circumstances, so, I cannot give you any conclusive response now.
“However, government, the leadership of the ministry and relevant stakeholders are meeting to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” she said.
NARD served notice on the Federal government on Tuesday warning that it could not guarantee further industrial harmony should government failed to address issues raised before May 29.
NARD’s letter entitled: “Notice of Strike Action” was signed jointly by its National President, Dr Innocent Orji and Secretary-General, Dr Chikezie Kelechi.
They stated that NARD had issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to resolve issues as contained in the ultimatum before its expiration on May 13.
Tuesday’s letter read in part: “regrettably the issues have remained unresolved despite several attempts by NARD to get government to resolve them.
“Rising from her Extra-Ordinary Meeting on Monday, May 15, NARD’s National Executive Council resolved to embark on a five-day warning strike beginning on May 17.”
The doctors are demanding an immediate increment in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to the tune of 200 per cent of current gross salaries of doctors.
NARD is also demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Bill seeking to compel medical and dental graduates to serve compulsorily in Nigeria for five years before getting full licences to practise.
It also wants immediate domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act and a review of Hazard Allowance by state governments.