- Tackle minister over no work, no pay policy
Paul Obi in Abuja
The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) monday gave the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to address the non-payment of salaries to its members, indiscriminate sack of members and poor health care infrastructure or face an industrial inaction.
Speaking with journalists at the end of the extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, NARD President, Dr. Muhammad Askira, said the body would fight the current injustice with all its energy.
The association explained that increasing cases of non-payment of salaries, poor infrastructure and administrative corruption remained the biggest challenge in the health sector.
Askira said: “NARD notes the poor infrastructure in our hospitals which has affected the delivery of adequate health care to our teeming populace. We observe that residency training programme is still not funded and without guiding policies.
“We also note the undue sack of our members from some of the training institutions. Additionally, the delay in effecting the pension deductions of our members was regrettably noted.”
NARD President further observed that: “Whereas a labourer deserves his wages, we note that some of our members in stated -owned tertiary hospitals have not been paid salaries ranging from three to eight months.”
He listed such states as Osun, Imo, Abia, Ekiti among others, adding that: “We noted with dismay the inappropriate placement and remuneration of our members in states and federal tertiary hospitals across the nation. As such, most hospitals are paying our members only fractions of their salaries notably FETHA Abakiliki; FMC Umuahia; ABUTH Zaria; UNTH Enugu among others, while in UCH Ibadan; UBTH Benin City, LUTH Lagos, FMC Owerri, ISTH Irrua and NOH Dala, November/December 2015 salaries are yet to be paid.
“In line with the above realities, NARD has declared a 21-day ultimatum with effect from yesterday, April 4, 2016, to press home our demands following which industrial harmony in our various hospitals may not be guaranteed if the existing realities are not resolved.”
The body also called for the reversal of the recent sack carried out by government, including realising and implementing “residency training guidelines with appropriate budgetary backing.”
On the threat by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, where he gave a warning order that the federal government would henceforth adhere and implement strictly the policy of ‘no work, no pay’, NARD declared that “there is no justification for such a draconic policy, given that government is yet to play its role.
“The minister should tell us the penalty of no work and no pay. If funds have been released, who are those holding it? If they have not been released, are there justification for bringing in the law?
“Monumental malpractice, corruption and discrimination in the polity must stop.
“Anybody who stops us from getting our entitlement is an enemy of this country. Enough is enough.”
Askira lampooned the idea of withholding doctors’ salaries, arguing that government should also met out punitive measures to itself for failing to pay doctors who already have fulfilled their obligation by working without salaries.
NARD also raised the alarm over the incessant cases of administrative corruption in the health sector, stressing that there was the need to “free it, (ministry of health) from administrative corruption, it has eaten it up.”
The association also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter, as the negative effect of the crisis would not be a good omen for his government.
Askira stated that many Nigerians voted for Buhari with the hope to salvage challenges such as the one in the health sector, adding that the president must act to save the situation.