Gbajabiamila’s intervention staves off resident doctors’ strike
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has prevailed on the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to backdown on its threat to down tools.
During the meeting yesterday with the medical practitioners and officials of the Federal Ministry of Health, Gbajabiamila was able to convince the two parties to reach an agreement on how to settle the contentious issues relating to the payment of outstanding salaries and allowances.
The Surulere 1, Lagos Federal Constituency representative had last week appealed to the doctors to suspend the strike action pending a meeting involving him, them and concerned government officials.NARD President, Dr. Olusegun Olaopa, had explained to the speaker and other principal officers that they had three major grievances against the Federal Government.
The complaints, he said, had to do with their salary arrears, skipped salary of N23.6 billion and alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Resident Doctors’ Act.
Gbajabiamila was, however, able to get a commitment from both the federal ministries of finance and health that the arrears would be cleared in three weeks.
Commiserating with the association for losing one of its members to the struggle, the speaker stated: “Let me thank you for according this House and this institution the respect of putting your strike on hold.“I want to assure you that the respect is mutual. We are here for you; we are here to protect you, and in doing that, we also protect our constituents. When you talk about essential services, the most important is health, because you save lives.”
He added: “So, we know the consequences of your going on strike. Since we all know the consequences, we should be serious about the issue.“Ours is to appeal to you using the instrumentality of this House. The issue of your N3.5 billion, I can almost assure you that it will be resolved next month. There is already a machinery in motion to ensure that it is paid by next month.”
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