The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has listed the release of the circular for one-for-one replacement of clinical staff, and the payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund as minimum conditions to call off its indefinite strike which commenced on July 26.
The National President of NARD, Dr Emeka Orji, disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent on Wednesday.
Orji said though the planned nationwide protest was suspended, the association was giving the Federal Government 72 hours to meet some of its urgent demands to call off its strike.
According to him, the association will decide to continue or call off the strike by Friday, August 12.The striking doctors had earlier planned to commence a daily peaceful protest, starting from Wednesday, August 9, 2023, if the government fails to meet their demands.
Orji said, “We had a fruitful meeting yesterday (Tuesday) at the Villa and with the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, so it will not be good to have that level of meeting and the next day we hit the streets to protest, it will look as if there is an ulterior motive behind our demands.
“Our demands are germane because there is a shortage of doctors in our hospitals, so the few of us remaining are being overworked. How long are we going to continue like that? They have told us what they will do today (Wednesday), and tomorrow (Thursday), and we are hopeful they will do the needful. If they are able to do those things, then I am sure the National Executive Committee will give us the mandate to suspend the strike because we are very understanding.
The circular for one-for-one replacement is the first and the 2023 MRTF fund is the second one. If they are able to address them, we will appeal to our members to suspend the strike while we continue to negotiate for all the salary arrears, skipping arrears, and other things.”
Orji said it should not be difficult for the government to implement the one-for-one replacement without extra expenses.
“The government has the list of those who have left and it is a matter of replacing them immediately and the new ones that are recruited are paid the salary you have budgeted to replace those who have left. So, it is not difficult to do. This is a thing that has been agreed to be done since February but nothing has been done about it, but we are hoping the government will do as agreed,” he added.