Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment has appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to end their industrial action as it was not in his interest to cause any development that would be inimical to the medical profession in the country.
The Minister made the appeal during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, while assuring the Association that the Federal Government would continue to negotiate towards finding lasting solution to the dispute which is now about two months.
“I want to appeal to NARD for them to reconsider their position, get back to work tomorrow (Monday) or next (Tuesday) and then come back again for discussions. We have so many things to discuss,” Dr. Ngige said.
At this juncture Dr. Ngige went emotional: “I have nephews who are resident doctors. I have three of them at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, UNTH Enugu, Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu. I have so many of them. I have a son who will graduate in Medicine in October. I cannot destroy the profession, I have to protect the profession too.”
The Minister also reacted to the court case filed by the Federal Government against the striking doctors, saying that it was the Federal Ministry of Health and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation that can withdraw the case from court.
“The court has ruled and said ‘Go and do some more settlement; meanwhile, you go back to work and continue the settlement’,” he added.
Invariably, NARD had said after the last court ruling that there was need for the Federal Government to consider their plight to enable them perform their duty effectively a situation that puts the dispute in a stalemate.
NARD noted that many of them cannot feed well; pay children’s school fees; participate in professional trainings among other issues owing to the neglect by Federal Government in responding to their agreed needs, particularly the backlog of salaries and arrears.