The Federal Government has vowed to invoke labour laws on “recalcitrant” doctors.
On Thursday, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) began a nationwide strike over the Federal Government’s “failure to fulfil its obligations to them”.
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When he featured on Politics Today, a Channels Television Programme, on Friday, Minister of Labour And Employment, said he will have another meeting with the doctors on Thursday.
He said if they refuse to shift grounds after the discussion, there are certain measures that he would take.
“By Tuesday, I will invite them back (the doctors) If they become recalcitrant, there are things I can do,” he said.
“There are weapons in the labour laws I will invoke. There is ‘no work, no pay’. Their employers have a role also to keep their businesses afloat, to keep patients alive. They can employ local doctors… We won’t get there. If we are going to get there, we’ll use that stick.”
He faulted the incumbent president of resident doctors
He said he does not like the role NARD President, Dr. Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, is playing in the ongoing strike.
Tackling the doctors, the minister said doctors pay to enter the residency programme in the US and UK, “but in Nigeria, we pay them”.
He said it was the former President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr Francis Adedayo Faduyile, who drew the attention of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to the current hazard allowance of ₦5,000 for doctors.
Describing the allowance as fair and just, Ngige said it was fixed in 1992.
The Minister explained that the Federal Government would review the amount in five weeks’ time, although he didn’t disclose the proposed figure.
Hazard allowance will be reviewed
“It is the last NMA President Faduyile that called my attention that the hazard (allowance) was ₦5,000. I raised it with the Finance Minister and the Vice President in the Economic Sustainability Meeting. In fact, to use the words of the Vice President, he said it is criminal, that it shouldn’t happen.
“The new hazard allowance will be done in the next five weeks. It is in the Memorandum of Action that we signed. Immediately after the Easter break, I will convene a meeting to look at it holistically,” he added.