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Medical students stranded, groan as clinical lecturers begin strike

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Activities at medical schools across the South East were at standstill yesterday as clinical lecturers embarked on an indefinite strike over the refusal of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to withdraw its circular demanding that they must possess a doctorate for career progression.

The lecturers, under the auspices of Medical and Dental Consultants’ Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), had asked their members to withdraw their services from the medical schools with effect from yesterday over the decision.

The Guardian, which visited some of the medical schools met empty classrooms as examinations, practical and clinical tutorials had been suspended.

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This is even as students continued to lament the development and hope for its early resolution.

At the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State, few students were seen in some of the classrooms, saying they were merely “preparing on our own and hoping they resolve this matter.”

It was a similar situation at the medical school of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). Some non-teaching staff were seen in groups discussing the development.

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A meeting of the MDCAN chapter of the UNTH, held on Monday had agreed to comply fully with the directive of the national body.

Resolutions of the meeting, signed by its chairman, Dr. Anazoeze Madu, had asked members to discontinue all forms of classroom teaching for both undergraduate and postgraduate students; suspend all seminars, tutorials, lab work, block posting, clinical conferences, ward rounds and theatre sessions, in which students of the college were in attendance.

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They also resolved to suspend attending as internal or external examiners to any other college of medicine and stay away from meetings, committee and supervision of dissertations arising from the college or any other college of medicine.

The statement warned that it would deal decisively with defaulters by publishing their names in the book of shame, to be followed by excommunication.

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Also, a directive signed by Dr. C. Ilokanulo of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi asked all clinical lecturers to withdraw their services from yesterday. The directive approved for immediate withdrawal of members from the ongoing third MBBS examinations and all others to come as long as the strike lasts, while setting up local monitors to ensure strict compliance.

Also yesterday at the Bayero University, Kano (BUK), senior registrars and clinical consultants joined the industrial action.

Chairman of MDCAN, Kano branch, Dr. Imam Ibrahim, who confirmed total compliance of members, however noted that the strike would not affect their clinical services with the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital.

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