The National Association of Resident Doctors has raised the alarm that it is being threatened by some government agencies to call off its ongoing strike.
This comes four days into the nationwide strike which according to the association is to protest against the failure of the Federal Government to honour their agreements, including the payment of salary arrears and indemnity for their colleagues who died in the line of COVID-19 duty.
The National President, NARD, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, told Sunday PUNCH in an interview on Thursday that even though they had the duty to save lives, they are first human beings who had needs and should not be denied their entitlements.
He said this was a fight for survival, noting that they were tired of signing a memorandum of understanding with the government as the previous ones had yielded no result.
The leadership of the association had met with the Federal Government delegation on Wednesday night, during which the government appealed that the planned strike be shelved, but the association commenced the strike on Thursday, April 1.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had said on Friday that government would not hesitate to invoke the ‘No work no pay’ provision in the labour laws if they failed to call off the strike.
But in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, Okhuaihesuyi said the government had not been fair, noting that since the association issued its ultimatum on January 25 and having written series of letters to the relevant ministries and agencies, nothing was done.
The development has however paralysed activities in many teaching hospitals across the country, inflicting serious hardship on Nigerians who need medical care in such institutions.
Asked if Nigerians had helped in putting pressure on the government to do what was necessary to end the stalemate and address the inadequacies in the health sector, Okhuaihesuyi said, “Nigerians are actually scared. Basically, people cannot talk because they are scared of the unknown and there is fear of being harassed.