As Consultants Opt Out Of Strike, Resume Work Doctors, under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), will be holding an Emergency Delegates Meeting in Abuja today to review their demands and negotiations with the Federal Government.
According to one of delegates, the meeting is called to appraise the outcome of the July 3 meeting that was held in Abuja between members of the NMA’s National Executive Council, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the minister of health and other top officials in the Federal Ministry of Health.
The source stated that the outcome of the meeting would determine whether the nationwide strike, which is in its second week, would be suspended.
He said, “We can’t call off the strike without the congress meeting. That is where we are going to decide whether or not we are satisfied with whatever agreement the executives have reached with the Federal Government. We will appraise what is on offer vis-a-vis our demands. Then we will take the stand of the house back to the government for further negotiation.
“Many of the issues raised in the letter we wrote to the Secretary General of the Federation have not been addressed and it seems that they are playing politics with a very delicate situation that may cause anarchy and division in the health sector. It was a surprise when we read in the news that the Federal government said it had reached an agreement with us.”
Doctors in federal and state-owned hospitals embarked on a nationwide strike on July 1 over issues relating to appointments of officers into choice positions in the nation’s public health institutions.
The NMA, in a 24-point demand letter to the Federal Government in June, directed that either such positions be reversed or doctors would embark on a total nationwide strike.
However, relying on the judgment of the National Industrial Court which stopped the Federal Government from implementing the agreement it had earlier reached with the Joint Health Sector Union and their planned strike, the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria has assured all patients and Nigerians of its commitment to uninterrupted and high quality health care services in all hospitals across the country.
The association urged its members nationwide to ignore the ongoing strike called by the Nigerian Medical Association, saying they should continue to provide services to patients.
The NMA President, Dr. Kayode Obeme, had said that last week’s interim injunction by the NIC has no link with the doctors’ strike as it was merely an issue between MDCAN and government.
“Every doctor is a member of NMA, other affiliates are allowed to operate also. We sought legal advice on the court injunction; our legal opinion is that the court order did not mention any reference to NMA and since it did not mention NMA, we don’t want to dwell on it,” he stated.
But the MDCAN said reports from hospitals nationwide and data collected from members after its meeting on Saturday in Ilorin, showed that members of the association – orthopaedic surgeons, obstetricians, gynaecologists, infectious diseases specialists, physicians and several other specialists- had been attending to patients in various hospitals across the country.
In a statement yesterday by its National President, Dr. Steven Oluwole, the consultants said they had been doing this “within the limits that are practicable in the current prevailing situation and circumstances.”
The meeting was to review the state of healthcare delivery in the country.
Oluwole said, “We note, without reservations, the unnecessary rivalry that has thrown the health sector into endless cycles of strikes and threat of strikes.
“The MDCAN complies fully with the restraining order on all parties, which is contained in the ruling, delivered by Hon. Justice M.N. Esowe on June 27, 2014, on the Motion Ex-Parte for an Order of Interim Injunction in Suit No. NICN/ABJ/177/2014 [Incorporated Trustees of MDCAN v. Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity & Attorney-General of the Federation, (pending before the National Industrial Court, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.
“In the same vein, MDCAN expects the other parties to the above suit to comply fully with the terms of the said restraining order. Branches of the MDCAN and individual consultants should continue to provide services to patients, but should exercise their professional judgement as to the best care feasible and practicable in the current situation.
“All patients and Nigerians are assured of our commitment to uninterrupted and high quality healthcare services. MDCAN pleads with the Federal Government of Nigeria to do all that is necessary to bring a quick end to the current impasse.”
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has faulted the nationwide strike embarked upon by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA).
The union described the action as selfish, anti-people, ego-driven and provocative, insisting that such strikes by professional groups in the health sector always lead to avoidable loss of lives.
The Chairman of TUC in Rivers State, Comrade Hyginus Chika Onuegbu, told newsmen in Port Harcourt, at the weekend that it was wrong for the NMA to embark on a nationwide strike when the subject matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Onuegbu said, “The nationwide strike embarked upon by the NMA is not just selfish and ego-driven but anti-people and provocative. Any strike in the health sector leads to avoidable loss of lives.
“It is therefore painful to see NMA and other professionals in the health sector embark on selfish and ego-driven strikes. This is more so, when the subject matter of the strike is before a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“This is what I have realised; there is hardly any two months that one group of professionals or the other in the health sector is not on strike. If you take time and find out why they are on strike, you will discover that there is lack of professionalism; there is rivalry.
“I understand that the matter is already in court and if a case is in court, any action you take on it is subjudice. So, one wonders why NMA will embark on an action that is subjudice or that is pre-empting the decision or outcome of a matter before a court.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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