By Kemi Yesufu
Following the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) has suspended its planned industrial action, which was due to commence on Monday 22nd July, 2019.
The union had at the end of its 39th Ordinary General Meeting in Benin City, Edo State in May, given a 40-day ultimatum, calling for the payment of outstanding salary shortfalls and arrears of its members.
However, after the ultimatum, the Speaker had appealed to the resident doctors through the immediate past secretary-general of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Hon. Yusuf Sununu, a member of the House, to give him time to make consultations on the issues at stake.
NARD’s National President, Olusegun Olaopa, who confirmed the suspension of the strike said the union had to put it on hold to honour the Speaker till Monday, 29, July when the Speaker would meet with the union.
Olaopa said: “It was based on the ultimatum that we gave earlier, which we served the Hon. Speaker. Based on the discussion with the Speaker, who actually showed good intention to intervene in the matter, we felt that it is honourable for us to meet and take his intervention.
“For now, we considered trying to hold on any action that we want to take, which is supposed to be today (yesterday), at our meeting tomorrow (today). But we thought that since the Hon. Speaker has intervened, we should give him the honour at least to meet with him and allow him to intervene in the matter before we go ahead.
“So, the meeting has been fixed for Monday. We are planning to make some concessions to allow us to meet with the Speaker first and see his good intervention before we consider any other action”.
Other demands of the resident doctors as contained in their communique included the appropriate placement in grade levels of doctors who suffered same scale promotion and for state governments to look into their tertiary health institutions to immediately halt the decay in providing access to quality healthcare to the citizenry.