The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has begun the payment of arrears salary owed to resident doctors nationwide.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who made the revelation yesterday at the resumed negotiations between government and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) in Abuja, explained that the office of the Accountant General of the Federation had remitted the arrears to the apex bank for immediate action.
Faulting the ongoing strike, the minister accused the doctors of violating Section 18 of the Trade Union Dispute Act of the Federation 2004.
Ngige also flayed the association for allegedly blackmailing and shortchanging the Ministry of Health after an agreement had been reached last week.
In his words: “I do not think is very fair to the Federal Ministry of Health which is the employers of the doctors. In this ministry, we act as conciliators. Even though I am a government minister, I am a chief conciliator. If the government is wrong, I will tell them that they are wrong. If the employees are wrong, I will say so and at the end of the day, we will find a way to conciliate and make for equitable industrial relations.”
Besides, the Unified Nigeria Youth Forum (UNYF) has described the inability of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to meet the demands of NARD and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a national embarrassment.
In a statement by its president, Abdulsalam Muhammad Kazeem, the group contended said that government should have prioritised the legitimate agitations of these professionals, since it was able to foot the bogus medical bill of the President in a London hospital for more than 100 days.
It, however, appealed to the striking doctors to suspend the strike by “reconsidering their step to save the lives of many common Nigerians who are currently receiving treatment in our various public hospitals across the nation.”
The group continued: “The resident doctors should please resume work with immediate effect to reaffirm the oath they swear him with to.”