The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has suspended their planned nationwide protest after a closed-door meeting with Senate officials on Tuesday
The decision was confirmed by NARD President, Emeka Orji, on Wednesday morning.
A communication from the office of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, had already hinted at the doctors’ inclination towards this decision in a statement.
In a telephone conversation, Mr. Orji said the initially scheduled protest for Wednesday has been deferred.
“We convened with the Senate President, majority and minority leaders, and Whip today,” stated Orji.
“The slated protest for Wednesday has been temporarily suspended, and we are poised to reassess the situation in 72 hours.”
In a separate statement on Tuesday night, Senate President Akpabio commended the doctors for their suspension of the protest and their willingness to consider ending the strike as well.
According to the statement issued by Akpabio’s media office, the Senate President said the doctors’ grievances have been duly noted and will be tackled once a new Minister is appointed to oversee the health sector.
“On behalf of the Senate, I extend gratitude for your choice to not only call off the intended public demonstration but also to contemplate concluding the strike in favor of the struggling populace,” he said.
“Your demands have been taken into account, and I assure you that once a Health Minister is in place, the Senate will collaborate with them to promptly address your concerns.”
Akpabio said the administration led by President Bola Tinubu maintains a favourable stance towards medical professionals, which is evident in the considerable number of healthcare experts appointed to the cabinet. He added that any form of medical strike should be avoided due to the ramifications it poses for the nation.
“This is the reason the Senate is resolute in its commitment to achieve a harmonious resolution to this deadlock through consultations and dialogues with pertinent authorities.”
Initially, the striking doctors had announced their intention to commence a daily peaceful protest, starting on Wednesday, if the government did not meet their stipulated demands. This move was in reaction to the Nigerian government’s instruction for federal tertiary hospitals to implement the “no work, no pay” policy against the striking medical practitioners.224000521" crossorigin="anonymous">