The Nigerian government has decided to sack all 16,000 resident doctors who went on strike.
The doctors had been on an indefinite nationwide strike since July, protesting the Federal Government’s non-implementation of some agreements it had with the union.
The demands include immediate appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation and increase of hazard allowance to N100,000 monthly.
The doctors were also demanding reservation of the position of the chief medical director for medical doctors only.
The Federal Government, in a circular dated August 13, 2014, signed by L. N. Awute, Permanent Secretary,
Ministry of Health, on behalf of the minister directed the suspension of residency training programme for doctors in the country, and termination of appointment of all resident doctors to enable the government appraise the challenges facing the sector.
The government, in the circular, entitled “Re: Presidential directive suspending residency programme in Nigeria,” directed the hospital boards of management to take all necessary measures to immediately restore full medical services.
The circular also noted that “this is without prejudice to the employment of Locum Physicians on six months renewable contract, tied to productivity and good behaviour.”
The locum appointments, the circular stated, were to be approved by the president through the minister of health.
Reacting to the sack order, chairman, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Jubril Abdullai, said the decision was illegal, adding that the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) would take appropriate steps as regards the situation.
According to him, it was an act of law that set up residency training programme in Nigeria, adding that for the country to abolish it legal steps had to be taken.
He noted that an emergency meeting had just been held with the national body of doctors, adding that “I can bet it with you that this is just the beginning of the strike.”
Also, vice president of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Titus Ibekwe, while speaking with Nigerian Tribune, said the association was in a meeting to discuss the issue.