Speaker Abbas meets President Tinubu over resident doctors’ planned strike

……Constitutes ad hoc panel to address issues

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, PhD, is to meet with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as part of efforts to avert the planned industrial action by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

Speaker Abbas’ meeting with the President would be to intimate him on the pending issues raised by NARD and appeal to the President on how to resolve them.

At a meeting with the national leadership of NARD on Monday in his office in Abuja, the Speaker also announced the setting up of an ad hoc committee to be chaired by the House Leader, Prof Julius Ihonvbere, which will meet with all the stakeholders with a view to addressing the issues.

In a statement signed by Musa Abdullahi Krishi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives, the speaker stated that the ad hoc panel has the immediate past Chairman of the 9th House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Tanko Sununu (APC, Kebbi), as the Deputy Chairman. All medical practitioners in the House would be co-opted into the ad hoc committee.

Speaker Abbas directed the ad hoc panel to swing into action immediately.

NARD had on July 5, 2023, after its Extraordinary National Executive Council, issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to implement all pending agreements or face industrial action by the resident doctors.

The resident doctors had embarked on a five-day warning strike between May 17 and 21, 2023, to press home their demands.

During the meeting with the NARD leadership on Monday, Speaker Abbas equally appealed to the resident doctors to give the House leadership two weeks period to find solutions to the issues raised.

He said the 10th House was inaugurated a little over a month ago, and appealed to the resident doctors to see reason with the current leadership and “give us a little time to address this matter.”

The leadership of the resident doctors, led by the National President of NARD, Dr. Emeka Innocent Orji, acceded to the Speaker’s appeal and said they would get back to their members on the Speaker’s position.

“I appeal to you to give us a little time. We just came in less than 50 days ago. Give us a little time to sort out these issues. We don’t have some stakeholders.

“Please, suspend your action by two weeks. I assure you that I’ll set up an ad hoc committee on this matter today. I also want to assure you that I’ll meet with the President between today and tomorrow and brief him on what’s happening.

“I plead with you to talk to your members that we have intervened again, and that within two weeks, we’ll take all the necessary actions.”

Speaker Abbas went ahead to announce the setting up of the ad hoc committee headed by Prof. Ihonvbere.

At the meeting were the House Leader, Prof. Ihonvbere; several members of the House; the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Okokon Ekanem Udo; 1st Vice-President, NARD, Dr Nnamdi Ndi-Ezuma, among others.

The Speaker, in his remarks before the meeting went into closed-door, noted that the parties honoured the House by accepting to meet with the parliament “even in the face of a looming strike action which notice has been issued according to information available to us.”

He said: “Your decision to meet with the House is an affirmation of your faith and confidence in our capacity to intervene and resolve the lingering issues in dispute. This is most reassuring, owing to the fact that the 9th Assembly had previously intervened in this matter. We hope to even go beyond the steps and actions taken by the previous House to ensure that we find a lasting resolution to the ever lingering crisis.

“We are not unmindful of the many sacrifices resident doctors have continued to make in the health sector despite the many challenges you face and the poor conditions within which you work. While many of your colleagues have left the shores of our country in pursuit of better working conditions, you have chosen to remain behind in service to the fatherland. We commend you for this and assure you, that we would deploy every legislative instrument available to us to ensure that you are fully compensated and rewarded for this act of patriotism.”


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