ABUJA – The ministers of health, employment, labour and productivity in Abuja on Monday appealed to the Nigeria Medical Association ( NMA) to suspend its ongoing strike.
The ministers made the appeal at a meeting with officials of the NMA at the instance of the House of Representatives Committee on Health.
Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Minister of Health, said the ministry was ever ready to work with the association to end the strike.
He said “I want to join my colleagues to appeal to the president and members of the medical association to call off the strike.’’
He added that he was at the national delegate meeting of the association to appeal to the striking doctors to call off the strike.
Mr Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour, also appealed to the striking doctors to suspend the two weeks old strike “for at least three months to allow government and the association to dialogue on the matter.
“I appeal to you to give the Federal Government and Nigerians the opportunity by suspending the strike.
“I urge you to suspend this strike for dialogue to continue.
“I made up my mind before I came here to appeal to you to suspend the strike.’’
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta), said the strike was impacting on the health of Nigerians negatively.
He urged the striking doctors to suspend the strike for at least three months to allow the committee to dialogue with relevant stakeholders to resolve the matter.
In a remark, Dr Kayode Obembe, the NMA President, said the strike would continue unless government addressed the issue of relativity and skipping.
He said “until the issue of relativity is solved, doctors will not return to work.
“If government wants this strike to end, it should pay the six months relativity allowance.’’
He said that the association was not interested in embarking on strike unless the situation warranted it.
“We are not interested in strikes, we always try to stop it before it begins.
“I want to tell you that we are not strike mongers, we are life savers.’’
Meanwhile, the committee had invited the head of service, the secretary to the government of the federation, the minister of finance, as well as officials of the Salaries and Wages and Budget Office of the Federation for a meeting on July 16. (NAN)