Nigerian Resident Doctors Halt Strike as Government Pledges Resolution of Demands

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Nigerian Resident Doctors Halt Strike as Government Pledges Resolution of Demands
Nigerian Doctors Pause Nationwide Strike Following Positive Government Engagement

In a significant turn of events, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has decided to suspend its planned nationwide protest, originally slated to commence on August 9, 2023. This decision comes after a series of high-level discussions with President Bola Tinubu and the leadership of the National Assembly.

Dr. Emeka Orji, the National President of NARD, confirmed the development during a telephone conversation with Vanguard. According to Dr. Orji, the government requested a 24-hour window to address the urgent demands put forth by the striking doctors. Despite the initial difficulty in persuading their members to accept the outcomes of the negotiations, the association independently resolved to grant the Nigerian government a 72-hour period, following which they will reevaluate their stance.

“We have engaged in multiple meetings with the presidency and the Senate. One took place at the presidential villa, and another with Senate President Godswill Akpabio and other key figures from the National Assembly. They have intervened in the matter,” Dr. Orji stated.

He continued, “The government asked for 24 hours to resolve these pressing issues, so we have given them 72 hours. After that, we will convene again. Our members had prepared banners and were poised to mobilize this morning. It was a challenge to convince them to consider the Federal government’s demands.”

Dr. Orji expressed hope that the government would work tirelessly to fulfill its promises within the stipulated timeframe. He emphasized that once the 72-hour period concludes, the association cannot be held responsible for not extending ample time to the government.

During discussions with the Senate, the doctors found the encounter to be productive, nurturing a sense of optimism that the Senate would uphold the agreements reached to address the association’s immediate needs.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio affirmed the doctors’ decision to suspend their planned actions, praising their consideration of the greater public’s well-being. Akpabio assured the medical professionals that President Bola Tinubu’s administration is committed to fulfilling their demands. He stated, “Your demands are well noted, and I assure you that once a health minister is appointed, the Senate will work hand-in-hand with them to promptly address your grievances.”

Akpabio further acknowledged that the Bola Tinubu-led administration has a positive relationship with the medical community, evident in the significant number of medical practitioners appointed to key positions in the cabinet.

This decision follows a period of intense agitation by the resident doctors, who embarked on an indefinite strike due to the government’s perceived lack of response to their demands. These demands encompassed the payment of the 2023 medical residency training fund (MRTF), immediate release of the circular on one-for-one replacement, an upward revision of the consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS), as well as payment of outstanding arrears of consequential adjustment, hazard and skipping allowances, among other concerns.

The doctors had also issued a prior warning of a nationwide peaceful protest scheduled to commence on August 9, 2023, to further press their demands. However, the recent negotiations and suspension of their strike now open the possibility for a more amicable resolution between the doctors and the Nigerian government.

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