The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said Following an exhaustive meeting with members of the National Association of Resident Doctors, they have hinted that they are ready to suspend their planned resumption of strike on Friday.
A statement issued by the Office of the Speaker said the doctors, at the resumption of the meeting with Gbajabiamila, which began last week, said they would suspend the planned resumption of the strike as soon as they got payment for their salary arrears, ranging from one to five months.
The statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said the doctors took the position after the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said funds were available for the payment, while assuring that her ministry would pay immediately a verified list of the beneficiaries was received.
According to the statement, when the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze, who was one of the stakeholders at the meeting, confirmed that his office was in receipt of the list, the minister gave her word that payment would be made by May 7.
The statement was titled ‘Resident doctors hint at suspension of planned strike…after exhaustive meeting with Gbajabiamila.’
The resident doctors had on April 1, 2021, embarked on an indefinite strike, making demands that included non-payment of house officers, abolishment of bench fees, non-payment of national minimum wage, salary shortfall for 2014, 2015 and 2016, residency training allowance, and payment of resident doctors on GIFMIS platform.
All the issues raised by the doctors were resolved, except that of salary shortfall for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The issue involves all health workers with a cost implication of about N23bn, which the Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, described as “huge and complicated.”
Also, there were claims that a case on the matter was before a court, which the Speaker asked the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to produce the relevant court papers to back the claim as the resident doctors said their checks revealed there was no pending court case anywhere on the matter.
It was then agreed jointly by the doctors, the House led by the Speaker and officials of the ministry of health that the matter should be set aside until court papers were provided.
Others present at the meeting, which lasted up to late Tuesday evening, were the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu; Minority Whip, Gideon Gwani; Chairman, House Committee on Healthcare Services, Tanko Sununu, among others.
On the part of the Executive arm were Dr Ehanire; Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan; Chairman of the Committee of CMDs, Dr Jafaru Momoh; the NARD President, Dr Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, among others.