NIGERIA’S National Association of Resident Doctors (Nard) will begin an indefinite strike nationwide as from Thursday April 1 following the expiration of a 60-day ultimatum to the federal government to pay their members salary arrears and Covid-19 hazard allowances.
Faced with a hectic workload as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, medical house officers across Nigeria have had a very tough year and as a result have asked to be well remunerated for their heavy workload. They have asked that the government clear their backlog of salary arrears as well as pay them an agreed Covid-19 hazard allowance as is the practice everywhere else worldwide.
Nard and the federal government agreed a meagre N5,000 hazard allowance but even this has not been paid and following an extraordinary national executive council meeting in Abuja over the weekend, the union decided it has no option but to call for industrial action. While decrying the meagre N5,000 allowance paid to its members, Nard also noted that since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, it has lost 17 doctors, whose families and loved ones were yet to benefit from the Death in Service Insurance Scheme.
Nard spokesman Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said:“The national executive council (Nec) unanimously agreed that Nard should proceed on a total and indefinite strike on the first of April 2021, by 8am if the following demands are not met. Immediate payment of all salaries owed to all house officers including March salaries, regardless of quota system, before the end of business on the 31st of March 2021.
“The Nec also unanimously demanded the sacking of the registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) for failure to demonstrate competence in the handling of the central placement of house officers. This will give room for smooth implementation of the central placement of house officers without further delays.”