Hope that ongoing strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) will be suspended was dashed on Friday as the Federal Government breached agreement reached with the doctors on Wednesday.
Specifically, the government failed to pay the backlog of salary arrears to the doctors as it promised on Wednesday to effect within two days.
Dr Arikawe Adeolu, a member of the National Executive Council of NARD, confirmed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday that the government had reneged on the agreement.
Adeolu, who is also the General Secretary of NARD at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Jabi, Abuja, said that as at the close of work on Friday, no member of the association had been paid.
The meeting on Wednesday between the doctors and Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Dr Chris Ngige, was to find ways on how to end the strike.
The doctors are protesting the sack of some of their colleagues, non-payment of “skipping’’ entitlement, non-inclusion in the IPPIS platform and non-payment of their salary arrears.
Following failure by the government to honour the agreement on payment of salary arrears, Adeolu said that the association would meet late on Friday to decide on next line of action.
“Since we held the meeting with the two ministers, nothing new has happened. We were hoping that they will fulfil their end of the agreement so that we can call off the strike and continue negotiations.
“But, up till now that I am speaking with you, nothing has happened; we are yet to be paid.
“After the meeting we had on Wednesday, an agreement was reached. Some of the agreements reached cannot be fulfilled immediately except one.
“That is for the Federal Government to pay the backlog of salary arrears owed doctors across the country; it was agreed that these arrears would be paid latest on Thursday or Friday.
“With this in mind, we scheduled to hold a meeting on Friday to discuss the next steps to take in order to call off the strike but to our dismay, we are yet to receive anything,” Adeolu said.
He said that the Friday meeting would be closed-door, and that the association would release a communique at the end.
He, however, expressed optimism that the government would fulfil its part of the agreement so that the association could call off the strike.