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Nigerian doctors embark on indefinite strike

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Nigerian doctors under the umbrella body of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike after the federal government ignored their 14 days automatum.
In the light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, NARD president Dr Aliyu Sokomba said it has exempted its members that are working in Nigeria’s various COVID-19 isolation and treatment centres from joining the strike. He however added that the exemption is for two weeks after which they will also be directed to join the strike.

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Explaining the rationale behind the strike, Sokomba attributed the industrial action to the failure of meetings held by representatives of the doctors’ union and the Nigerian government to resolve the lingering industrial disputes.
One of such is the non-payment of special allowances for the resident doctors. The union also expressed displeasure with the deplorable state of hospitals in addition to the lack of protective equipment for resident doctors that are treating COVID-19 patients.
The union noted that many of its members have been exposed to COVID-19 with fatalities recorded.

Nigerians are surprised that the Federal Government failed again after the report of the arrangement earlier concluded to pay two months hazard allowance to frontline health workers battling the novel coronavirus. According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Director of Publicity, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, the health workers would be paid before Friday, June 12. The statement noted that the decision to pay was due to an agreement reached between the Federal Government and representatives of the health workers.

Chris-Ngige

According to the statement, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has already directed that the outstanding hazard allowance, which was for April and May be paid before Friday. The labour minister stated further in the statement that the approval granted by President Muhammadu Buhari was in appreciation of the efforts of the health workers risking their lives in the fight against COVID-19.

“We have reviewed all the emoluments that we are to give these gallant workers who are at the frontline taking the risk for all of us.

“We have fixed a timeline for ourselves that before the end of this week, the health workers captured in that particular COVID-19 net and frontline workers should get all their hazard and inducement allowances for April and May before the close of the week,” he said.