The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has decided to postpone its nationwide protest that was originally set to commence on August 9.
After engaging in discussions with representatives of the federal government on Tuesday regarding their ongoing strike and the planned protest, Emeka Orji, the President of NARD, had stated that the outcome of the meeting would determine whether the protest would proceed.
Emeka Orji informed TheCable after the meeting that “the protest has been suspended. We will reassess the situation in 72 hours.”
Additionally, it was revealed that the decision to suspend the protest came after a meeting with Senate President Godswill Akpabio and other key leaders of the upper legislative chamber.
Orji stated to journalists, “We had a very productive meeting with the Senate, led by the Senate President. Based on our discussions with them, we are optimistic that when we present our case to the National Executive Council today, positive outcomes will emerge.”
“Through our interactions with the Senate President and his practical demonstrations, we are confident that there will be a favorable resolution within the next 24 hours. Due to the Senate President’s intervention, who holds a significant position, our planned nationwide protest has been called off, and we will decide on the ongoing strike as soon as we convene.”
Akpabio assured the doctors that the administration of President Bola Tinubu will address their demands. Akpabio expressed, “I thank you on behalf of the Senate for choosing not only to cancel the intended public protest but also to suspend the strike in consideration of the suffering masses.”
“Your requests have been duly noted, and I can assure you that once a Minister of Health is appointed, the Senate will collaborate with them to swiftly address your grievances. The President Bola Tinubu-led administration values doctors and this is reflected in the substantial number of medical practitioners he has appointed to his cabinet.”
NARD’s demands include the payment of the 2023 medical residency training fund (MRTF), the immediate release of the circular on one-for-one replacement, and an upward review of the consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS). Other demands comprise the payment of overdue arrears related to consequential adjustment, hazard, and skipping allowance.
During the ongoing strike, NARD had announced plans for peaceful nationwide protests starting from August 9. The protests were intended to involve picketing at the Federal Ministry of Health, the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, and federal and state tertiary health institutions across the nation.
Emeka Orji had previously explained on Channels Television that the protest’s start date was moved to Wednesday to allow sufficient time for the federal government to intervene. He stated, “We initially considered starting these protests on Monday but decided to delay them to provide the federal government with more time to engage.”
Resident doctors are medical school graduates undergoing specialist training. They constitute a crucial part of frontline healthcare providers in Nigeria and play a significant role in the emergency departments of the country’s hospitals.