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Resident doctors pledge to suspend strike after meeting with Speaker, Finance Minister



The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has indicated its willingness to suspend its planned strike billed to commence on Friday, May 7.

The doctors dropped this hint after a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila on Tuesday, May 4, in Abuja.

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, Mr Lanre Lasisi, the doctors said they would suspend the planned strike; as soon as they received their salary arrears ranging from one to five months.

The statement said that NARD took the position after the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said funds were available for the payment.

The minister assured that her ministry would pay once a verified list of the beneficiaries was received; giving her word that payment would be made by May 7.

The statement also said that the Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, had confirmed at the meeting that his office was already in receipt of the list.

It could be recalled that the resident doctors had in April embarked on an indefinite strike; after making some demands, which included non-payment of house officers as well as abolishment of bench fees.

In addition, the doctors also demanded the payment of national minimum wage; salary shortfall for 2014, 2015, and 2016, residency training allowance; and also payment of resident doctors on the GIFMIS platform.

Also Read: Presidency alleges plot to overthrow Buhari

According to the statement, all the issues raised by the doctors had been resolved; except that of salary shortfall for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

The statement noted that the issue involved all health workers with a cost implication of about N23 billion; which the Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, described as “huge and complicated.”

Meanwhile, a former President of the Senate, Pius Anyim, has implored President Muhammadu Buhari to inaugurate a special panel to investigate the agitations across Nigeria especially by aggrieved minorities.

This was contained in a letter issued to Buhari dated May 3, 2021, and titled ‘Re: The State of Insecurity in the Nation: My Suggestion.’

Anyim said, “The perilous threats to our national sovereignty at the time you took over the reins of power in 2015 were the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East; the armed agitation in the Niger Delta region and the IPOB agitation in the South-East.

“Mr President, on your assumption of office, the most striking promise you made to the nation was to tackle insecurity; with emphasis on reclaiming the territories occupied by Boko Haram.

“I must admit that you did approach the insecurity challenge with commendable determination; but, unfortunately, the challenge, with time, became hydra-headed and no doubt went beyond your control,” he wrote.

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