The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has suspended its two months strike following the outcome of its emergency delegates meeting, in Abuja on Saturday.
In a communiqué signed by its Secretary General, Dr Ekpe Philips Uche, the NMA said the advice was based on the ongoing intervention by the Association.
Other resolutions by the NMA at the meeting included a mandate to the National Officers Committee (NOC) to ensure speedy implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Nigerian Government on August 21, 2021 and the NOC to report to the National Executive Council (NEC) of NMA periodically on the progress being made on the implementation of the MoU.
However, a member of the Association revealed that despite speculations that the new President, Dr Dare Ishaya might have been bribed by the Nigerian government, the decision was not only taken by him.
NARD elected Ishaya and other new executive members to steer the affairs of the Union at the Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the doctors held on 25th September at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH) in Bauchi state.
Speaking on Monday, the source who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “Yes, it is true that we suspended the strike. The parent body has been the NARD, and it will take over the negotiations.”
The source further said the suspension of the strike was determined by election of the NOC members, with the claim that the Nigerian government promised to withdraw the court case if doctors return to work.
“It was actually put to vote to end the strike. The majority were in favour of calling off the strike. Those who voted to suspend the strike were 56, those who wanted it to continue were 28, and 5 people were absent.
“Though, it was believed in some quarters that the new president has been bribed to call off the strike. Government is willing to withdraw the court case. It wants us to call off the strike before others are paid.
“200 out of 8,000 got paid with the controversial medical residency training fund (MRTF). The people on the government integrated financial management system (GIFMIS) payment platform have been migrated, they can only get their salaries this month if we resume so that they can be patrolled," the source said.
Speaking on why the resumption will be Wednesday, he said, “It is to allow those who have travelled to return to their various bases.”
The striking doctors embarked on industrial action on August 2, citing the failure of the Nigerian Government to implement the agreements it signed with the union 113 days after it suspended the previous strike as the reason for the current strike.
Some of the demands include the migration of doctors from the GIFMIS platform to the IPPIS (Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System) platform, review of hazard allowance, inconsistency in payment of salaries, death allowances for members of the association who died during COVID.