The federal government has rejected the 21-day ultimatum issued to it by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), to resolve the ongoing strike with the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
The Ministry of Labour and Employment said the ultimatum is in direct collision with the Memorandum of Understanding signed on August 21.
The NMA had threatened to join the ongoing strike by the doctors if the government fails to resolve all the issues contained in the various agreements signed with its affiliate unions.
However, reacting on Sunday to the threat in a statement titled, ‘Labour Ministry to NMA: Your 21-Day Ultimatum in Collision With Our MoU,’ the government argued that the NMA’s position is at variance with the timeline stated in the Memorandum of Agreement.
The ultimatum was part of the resolutions reached during its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held in Benin City last week.
“After due consideration, NEC put the Federal Government on a 21 days’ notice to fully resolve all the issues contained in the various agreements signed with Affiliate members of the Nigerian Medical Association (including MDCAN, MEDSABAMS, and NARD),” the statement jointly signed by its President, Professor Innocent AO Ujah, and Secretary, Philips Uche Ekpe, reads.
According to the doctors, if the federal government fails to implement the agreements after the expiration of the 21- day notice, the NMA will summon an emergency delegate meeting.
NMA’s ultimatum is the latest in the lingering tussle between the Nigerian government and NARD, which has embarked on strike since July 31.
Despite a series of meetings between the federal government and the striking doctors, as well as intervention from stakeholders, no resolution has been reached.
Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and employment, had in the wake of the disagreements threatened to invoke the “no-work, no pay” rule on NARD.
But the NMA has thrown its weight behind the striking doctors and other health workers.
“The Nigerian Medical Association fully supports all her affiliates in their efforts to improve the healthcare delivery in Nigeria and the welfare of her members,” it assured.