Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria have suspended the industrial action scheduled to commence on Monday following the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The union had at the end of its 39th Ordinary General Meeting in Benin City, Edo State, in May, given the government a 40-day ultimatum, calling for the payment of outstanding salary shortfalls and arrears of its members. A statement issued in Abuja on Monday by the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Publicity, Mr Lanre Lasisi, said at the expiration of the ultimatum, Gbajabiamila appealed to the resident doctors through the immediate past Secretary-General of the Nigerian Medical Association, Mr Yusuf Sununu, a member of the House, to give him time to make consultations on the matter.
The statement quoted the National President of NARD, Dr Olusegun Olaopa, as confirming the suspension of the strike till July 29 when the Speaker would meet with the union. Olaopa said, “It was based on the ultimatum that we gave earlier, which we served the 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 suspend 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 Speaker has intervened, we should give him the honour to, at least, 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 by the resident doctors, as contained in their communiqué, 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.