The nationwide protest, initially set to begin on August 9, has been suspended by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) after engaging in discussions with representatives of the federal government.
The aim of the meeting was to address the ongoing strike action and the planned protest.
Emeka Orji, President of NARD, stated that the outcome of the meeting would determine whether the protest would proceed. Following the meeting, he informed TheCable that “the protest has been suspended. We will review again in 72 hours.”
Additionally, it was revealed that the decision to suspend the protest was made after a discussion with Godswill Akpabio, the Senate President, and other prominent members of the upper legislative chamber. Orji expressed hopefulness, stating, “We had a very fruitful meeting with the Senate led by the President of the Senate, and from our discussions with them, we are very hopeful that when we table our discussions today before the NEC, something positive would come out.”
Akpabio reassured the doctors that the Bola Tinubu-led administration would address their demands, saying, “I thank you on behalf of the Senate for honoring us with your decision not only to cancel the planned public protest but to also call off the strike in the interest of the suffering masses.”
The association had previously embarked on an indefinite strike starting from July 26 due to the government’s failure to implement their demands. Some of the demands included the payment of the 2023 medical residency training fund (MRTF), the release of the circular on one-for-one replacement, an upward review of the consolidated medical salary structure (CONMESS), and the settlement of outstanding arrears of consequential adjustment, hazard, and skipping allowance.
In the midst of the strike action, NARD had announced plans for peaceful nationwide protests commencing on Wednesday, August 9, involving 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 throughout the country.
Resident doctors play a critical role in frontline healthcare provision in Nigeria and are frequently found in the emergency wards of the nation’s hospitals.