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The Federal Government and the Nigerian Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) are expected to sign a new agreement any moment as it moves to end the three-week-old strike by the doctors.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that the two parties held a meeting on Friday which lasted for hours where various contentious issues were reportedly deliberated upon, the spokesman, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan confirmed in a statement on Saturday, titled, ‘An end in sight for NARD strike as doctors/ FG agree on all issues.’
The meeting which had the most high-powered representation since negotiations with doctors stretched for 11 hours, ending 1 a.m. Saturday, with all the consolidated 12-point demand by NARD, the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria and other affiliates of NMA resolved.
In his address, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said the President directed him to side-step every technicality and re-commence conciliation, especially in the background of the alternative dispute resolution window, provided by the National Industrial Court, where the matter was referred to under the instrument of article 17 of the Trade Disputes Act.
‘The National Industrial Court in its wisdom advised that NARD should keep talking with its employers. So we are tapping into this widow of an alternative dispute resolution to ameliorate this situation that is already bad,’ the minister said.
Ngige commended the President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Prof. Innocent Ujah for assuming his role as the leader of all doctors in Nigeria, saying all affiliate doctors’ associations are under the NMA.
He said, ‘When you talk to the children and they don’t listen well, you talk to their parents. The standing agreement that every negotiation by affiliate associations must be led by the NMA was not observed in the recent past. I, therefore, commend Ujah for assuming his role as the father of all doctors. I want you to play this role effectively and efficiently.’
He insisted the present administration has made more investment in the health sector, and for doctors and other health professionals than the previous administrations, and dismissed insinuations that the non-keeping of agreements by the Federal Government was at the root of incessant doctors’ strike.
The Minister of State for Health, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora in his speech urged the doctors to end their strike in the interest of the nation as government tackles their demands.
However, the NMA President of NMA said the strike was avoidable and blamed some government functionaries for not playing their roles.
‘As doctors, we are trained to prevent disease, cure illnesses, and promote health but not trained to go on strike’.
He thanked Ngige for going the extra miles to ensure that officers across Ministries and agencies who are relevant to tackling the doctors’ demands are put on their toes.
The parly also deliberated on skipping which is a consequential grade alignment as well as non-payment of three months Covid-19 allowance to some doctors in 2020, and migration of MDCAN to CONUAS, among others.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK