Nigerian Gov’t Dismisses 21-Day NMA Ultimatum

The 21-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government by the Nigeria Medical Association saying it is in direct collision with the Memorandum of Understanding signed on August 21 has been rejected by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The Nigeria Medical Association had threatened to join the ongoing strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors if the government failed to resolve all the issues contained in the various agreements signed with its affiliate unions.

The government reacted to the threat on Sunday evening in a statement titled, ‘Labour Ministry to NMA: Your 21-Day Ultimatum in Collision With Our MoU,’ the government argued that the NMA’s position was at variance with the timeline stated in the Memorandum of Agreement.

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This ultimatum was part of the resolutions reached during its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, held in Benin City last week.

The statement jointly signed by its President, Prof Innocent AO Ujah and Secretary, Dr Philips Uche Ekpe, read, “After due consideration, NEC put the Federal Government on a 21 days’ notice to fully resolve all the issues contained in the various agreements signed with Affiliate members of the Nigerian Medical Association (including MDCAN, MEDSABAMS, and NARD),”

According to the doctors, if the Federal Government fails to implement the agreements after the expiration of the 21- day notice, the NMA will summon an emergency delegate meeting.

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NMA’s ultimatum is the latest in the lingering tussle between the Nigerian government and NARD which has gone on strike since July 31.

Despite a series of meetings between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the striking doctors, no resolution has been reached.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, had in the wake of the disagreements threatened to invoke the “no-work, no pay” rule on NARD.

But the NMA has thrown its weight behind the striking doctors and other health workers.

“The Nigerian Medical Association fully supports all her affiliates in their efforts to improve the healthcare delivery in Nigeria and the welfare of her members,” it assured.

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