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NSCIA appeals to resident doctors to suspend ongoing strike

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As the strike embarked upon by residents doctors across the country entered its 12th day on Friday, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), today appealed to the striking doctors to suspend the industrial action while negotiation with the government continues.

The doctors under the aegis of the National Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) had on Monday, August 2 resumed the strike they suspended on April 10, following what they described as the government’s failure to implement the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with the Federal Government for over 100 days, among other reasons, including their welfare.

Reacting to the strike, which has paralysed healthcare delivery in tertiary health institutions across the country in a press statement made signed by its Director of Administration, Arc. Zubairu Haruna Usman-Ugwu and made available to TribuneOnline, the Apex Islamic body in Nigeria noted that the strike action had increased the burden of vulnerable Nigerians, considering the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country.

The NSCIA also pleaded with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, to reconsider the ministry’s stance to abandon negotiations with the doctors, declaring that the government’s anger, no matter its basis, has not ameliorated the suffering of ordinary Nigerians who are helpless victims of the logjam.

“The leadership of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under His Eminence, Alh. Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto, is worried and concerned about the ongoing strike of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) which has increased the burden of vulnerable Nigerians.

“Without prejudice to the legitimacy of the demands of the NARD, we urge the Association to, in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath to which members subscribe and in consideration of the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country, suspend the industrial action while negotiation with the government continues,” the Islamic body stated.

It submitted that the government had to vigorously re-engage the leadership of NARD with a view to inspiring the confidence of the striking doctors in negotiation with it, adding that the Federal Government was duty-bound to coordinate responses of other tiers of government in addressing the doctors’ grievances.

The Islamic body then urged both the Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity to intensify negotiations with a view to finding a lasting solution to the fundamental issues raised by the striking doctors.

“The Council pleads with the Honourable Minister of Labour and Productivity to reconsider the Ministry’s stance to abandon negotiations with the doctors. The anger of the government side, no matter its basis, has not ameliorated the suffering of ordinary Nigerians who are helpless victims of the logjam.

“The government, therefore, has to vigorously and sincerely re-engage the leadership of NARD in a manner that would inspire the confidence of the medical doctors in the negotiation. The Federal Government also has a duty to coordinate the responses of other tiers of government towards addressing the grievances of the doctors.

“While commending the intervention of the National Assembly and other concerned Nigerians, we urge the Federal Ministry of Health and Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity to intensify negotiations with a view to finding a lasting solution to the fundamental issues raised by the doctors.

“In the meantime, the Council urges the Doctors to suspend the current strike to allow for meaningful negotiation,” the body appealed.

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