The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD suspended its nationwide protest on August 9, 2023, following a series of meetings with President Bola Tinubu and the leadership of the National Assembly.
Confirming the action in a telephone chat with Vanguard, the National President of NARD, Dr Emeka Orji said the government had asked the doctors to give them 24 hours to resolve the urgent demands.
Orji told Vanguard that though it was difficult to convince their members to agree with the outcome of the meetings with the government, said the association on its own has decided to give the Nigerian government 72 hours after which it will review its stand.
Orji said: “We have had a series of meetings with the presidency and the Senate, one at the presidential villa and another one with the Senate president, Godswill Akpabio, and other principal officers of the National Assembly so they have waded into the matter.
“They said we should give them 24 hours to resolve the urgent issues so we have given them 72 hours after which we will meet again.
“Our members everywhere have printed banners; they were ready to mobilise this morning. It was even difficult trying to appeal to them to agree to the demand of the Federal government.
“So, I hope that Government will work round the clock to keep to their promises because, after 72 hours from yesterday, nobody will blame us for not having given the Government time that they asked for.”
He said they had a fruitful meeting with the senate, adding that they are hopeful that they will abide by the outcome of the meeting to resolve the urgent demands of the association.
In a report, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio assured the doctors that President Bola Tinubu’s administration will accede to their demands.
“I thank you on behalf of the senate for honouring us with your decision not only to cancel the planned public protest but to also call off the strike in the interest of the suffering masses,” Akpabio said.
“Your demands are well noted and let me assure you that as soon as a minister in charge of health is appointed, the senate will work with him or her to expeditiously address all your grievances.
“The President Bola Tinubu-led administration is doctors friendly and that explains the large number of medical practitioners he has appointed into his cabinet.”
It could be recalled that the striking doctors had been on an indefinite strike over the government’s failure to meet their demands which include; payment of the 2023 medical residency training fund (MRTF); immediate release of the circular on one-for-one replacement and upward review of the consolidated medical salary structure, CONMESS, payment of outstanding arrears of consequential adjustment, hazard and skipping allowance among others.
The doctors had also threatened a nationwide peaceful protest starting, on 9th August, 2023