The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has said it will embark on peaceful protests from Wednesday, August 9, 2023, if the Nigerian government continues to ignore its demands.
NARD in a circular signed by the President of the association, Dr. Emeka Orji, and the Secretary General of the association, Dr Kelechi Chikezie on Saturday, also said it would be picketing the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, and the federal and state tertiary health institutions in the country.
The circular titled, “Notice of nationwide mass protests and picketing by NARD,” was addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Olufunso Adebiyi.
NARD embarked on an indefinite strike on July 26, 2023, following the expiration of a two-week ultimatum it issued to the government to meet its demands.
The doctors are demanding the implementation of the one-for-one replacement policy for healthcare workers; the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to discontinue the downgrading of the membership certificate issued by the West African Postgraduate Medical and Surgical Colleges; the immediate payment of all salary arrears; the implementation of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure; a new hazard allowance; and the domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act; among others.
Meanwhile, the FG had in a circular dated August 1, 2023, directed the Chief Medical Directors and Medical Directors in the Federal Tertiary Hospitals to implement the “no work, no pay” policy on the striking members of NARD. The FG also directed the hospitals to maintain an attendance register for all resident doctors willing to work.
However, NARD in a circular dated August 5, 2023, said it would be embarking on a daily peaceful protest and picketing of the government to press home its demands.
The circular read in part, “We wish to bring to your notice, the decision of the National Executive Council of NARD to embark on daily peaceful protests and picketing of the Federal Ministry of Health, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, as well as all federal and state tertiary health institutions nationwide, with effect from Wednesday, August 9, 2023, by 10 am.
“This has become necessary to press home our demands which have been largely neglected by our parent ministry and the Federal Government. We are pained that rather than make genuine and concerted efforts to resolve the challenges that led to the industrial action despite repeated ultimatums, our parent ministry and the Federal Government have chosen to demonise Nigerian resident doctors instead, after all, their sacrifices and patriotism.
“We, therefore, resolved that it is time the whole world hears our side of the story – the decay and corruption in the health sector, as well as the neglect the public health institutions have suffered all these years that led to repeated industrial actions.
“We believe that the government still has time to genuinely address the issues at stake before Wednesday, 9th August 2023, or leave us with no other option.”