The First Vice-President 1, National Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Arome Adejo, says members might resume their nationwide strike if the Federal Government fails to honour its agreement with them within the next four weeks.
Speaking for the first time since the doctors suspended their strike last Saturday, Adejo said the major factor that made NARD to suspend the strike was the dire plight of Nigerians.
Speaking on a radio programme, Crossfire, on Tuesday, Adejo explained that the association received several reports that Nigerians were suffering, and that the elderly with chronic illnesses were unable to access medical care.
Recall that resident doctors decided to embark on an industrial strike on April 1, following the deadlocked meetings with the Federal Government over a 13-point demands.
This also followed the expiration of the 60-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government on January 25, for the payment of salary arrears of House officers across the country and for the review of hazard allowance, among other demands.
NARD suspended the strike after 10 days, following a meeting with the Federal Government.
Adejo, a doctor at the Department of Accident & Emergency, Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, said that after reviewing the situation in an extensive meeting that lasted for hours, NARD leadership had no option than to plead with its members to call off the strike.
He, however, said the decision didn’t go down well with the majority of its members.
“Majority of NARD members were unhappy about the decision to call off the strike,” he said; adding, “I don’t really blame them if they blame us, because at this point in time, we were ready to go all the way.”
Continuing, Adejo said, “We decided that two wrongs don’t make a right, and that Nigerians are aware that the government doesn’t always live up to the responsibility of keeping to its own end of the bargain.
“We pleaded that for the sake of our fellow countrymen, because we also are Nigerians and could also be patients, we should give a timeline of four weeks.
“We will continue to sensitise Nigerians that after the four weeks, no one should plead with us again, because we have been casualties for so long that we don’t want to be casualties again.”
Adejo revealed that another factor that informed NARD’s decision to end the strike was that some respected Nigerians intervened in the matter.
He said, “The minor factor was that someone respected by the association, who had mediated in the past, in the person of the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, stepped in with the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Health, Hon. Tanko Sununu.
“They gave their word that our demands will be met within a specific time frame.
“The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, also looked into the memorandum of action and a meeting was called. One or two grey areas were extensively discussed, and with the consent of the Speaker, a timeline was given.
“However, we are happy that Nigerians know that we are not strike mongers. We are happy that they know we care about their health. We are happy that Nigerians know that if any strike happens now, they can’t blame us.”
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