The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said the ongoing strike embarked on by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) will cause more damage to the country’s health sector.
In an interview on Sunday, Ngige appealed to the striking doctors to suspend their industrial action and resume negotiations with the Federal Government.
As the resident doctors’ strike enters Day 59, the minister said he had always advocated for settlement in order to resolve the impasse amicably
He, however, advised the Health Ministry and Attorney General’s office as well as the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and NARD to approach the Labour Ministry to press their demands.
He said: “I want to appeal to NARD for them to reconsider their position, get back to work tomorrow or next and then come back again for discussions. We have so many things to discuss.
“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.
Recall that the National Industrial Court had ordered resident doctors to suspend their strike action and go back to work, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
While ruling on an application by the Federal Government last week Friday, Justice Bashar Alkali ordered the striking doctors to resume work immediately
But the striking doctors have faulted the court’s ruling, vowing to appeal the order and file an application for a stay of execution.
According to Ngige, it is 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 but meanwhile, you go back to work and continue the settlement’,” he added.