Thursday, 18 June 2020

You Cannot Intimidate Us...Striking Doctors Tell FG

The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) on Wednesday directed its members across the country not to sign any work register.

Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige and his Health counterpart, Dr Osagie Ehanire, had directed medical directors in Federal Government hospitals to open work registers for health workers to enable the government compile a list of those who report for duty as from today.  But the association, which called for the resignation of both ministers, advised its members to shun any work register.

The association’s First Vice President, Dr. Julian Ojebo, spoke on Wednesday in a radio interview in Abuja.

He accused the ministers of stalling government’s process of meeting their demands and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call them to order.

Ojebo said: “In saner climes where things work properly, Dr. Ngige and Dr. Ehanire will be resigning by this morning (Wednesday) for failure of leadership.

“It is no longer news that the Executive Appointees of government are the ones that are actually stalling these processes. It is a blatant lie when they say that the resident doctors refused to come back to a meeting. The meeting started around 12 p.m and lasted for quite a while, for about four hours, and then we went on a recess.

“When you go on a recess and you are about to come back for a meeting, the government is telling us to call off an industrial action without meeting any of our demands in their entirety. That is wrong.

“Concerning all our demands, we have not seen anything, and they said they have paid. We called our members out and asked them: ‘Has anyone received any monies?’ and the answer was no.

“Yes, they said the timing is wrong, but there is no timing that is right. No doctor will want his or her patient to die, and no doctor will want to commit suicide because of his or her Hippocratic Oath.”

Speaking with The Nation, NARD Publicity Secretary Dr. Stanley Egbuogu said: “This is a pandemic period and we are talking about social and physical distancing. Yet, someone is saying people should queue up and write a register. In some teaching hospitals, we have close to 4,000 doctors, depending on the capacity of the hospital.

“For us, we have directed our members not to write any name. Our members have neglected it and told us that they are fully with us. We are waiting to see a better response from the government.”

Our correspondents report that the strike continued across the states on Wednesday.

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