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Doctors disagree over strike

President of the NMA
About two months after calling out its members for a nationwide strike, the Nigerian Medical Association appears to be divided on whether to suspend the action or not.A press conference that was scheduled to take place on Sunday was put off for undisclosed reasons.The Secretary-General of the association just came and apologised to journalists, promising that the association would call them soon.He said, “Please, bear with us. We will call you in 48 hours time.”But an emergency meeting of the NMA leadership, which kicked off by 3pm, was still ongoing as of the time of this report (6:20 pm).The NMA had been on strike over some irreconciliable differenceswith the Federal Government.The PUNCHwas informed that at the meeting attended by some past presidents of the NMA, there were disagreements on whetherto shelve the strike or not.Among those at the meeting were three past Presidents of the association: its immediate-past President and a delegate to the ongoing National Conference, Dr. Osahon Enabulele; another pastPresident of the NMA, Dr. Omede Idris; and Kogi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Prosper Igboele.Others who were said to be at the meeting include a member, Board of Trustees of the NMA and Emir of Songa, His Royal Highness Haliru Yahaya; the Registrar, National PostGraduate Medical College, Prof. Wole Atoyebi, and a former leader of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.A source said, “The NMA leadership is divided on the strike; whilesome, led by its current President, Dr. Kayode Obembe, are pushing for the suspension of the action, others said they would not suspend the action when the Federal Government has not listened to them.“If we suspend the action now, the present government and even subsequent governments won’t take us seriously any time we declare nationwide strike again. That is the major issue, and not any insinuation that somebody has been settled.”The President of NMA, Obembe, had a few weeks after his election, premised the strike on the failure of the Federal Government to address the doctors’ demands, saying there was no going back.The NMA had sent 24 demands to the government, including discontinuation of recognition of non-medical doctors as directors and consultants.The demands also include appointment of a Surgeon – General ofthe Federation, payment of clinical duty and hazard allowances and withdrawal of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s circular on medical laboratory equipment.“The NMA is taking this painful route because our silence and gentle approach to these contending issues have been taken for granted. We have to take this action in order to save the health care delivery system from anarchy that is palpably imminent. We hereby appeal to all Nigerians for their understanding and call on government to meet with our demands,” he stated.Obembe had stated that the failure of the government to address NMA’s demands had left the association with no other option than “to call all its members to down tool in order to press home their demands.”Copyright PUNCH.All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published,broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.Contact:editor@punchng.com

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Doctors disagree over strike

President of the NMA
About two months after calling out its members for a nationwide strike, the Nigerian Medical Association appears to be divided on whether to suspend the action or not.A press conference that was scheduled to take place on Sunday was put off for undisclosed reasons.The Secretary-General of the association just came and apologised to journalists, promising that the association would call them soon.He said, “Please, bear with us. We will call you in 48 hours time.”But an emergency meeting of the NMA leadership, which kicked off by 3pm, was still ongoing as of the time of this report (6:20 pm).The NMA had been on strike over some irreconciliable differenceswith the Federal Government.The PUNCHwas informed that at the meeting attended by some past presidents of the NMA, there were disagreements on whetherto shelve the strike or not.Among those at the meeting were three past Presidents of the association: its immediate-past President and a delegate to the ongoing National Conference, Dr. Osahon Enabulele; another pastPresident of the NMA, Dr. Omede Idris; and Kogi State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Prosper Igboele.Others who were said to be at the meeting include a member, Board of Trustees of the NMA and Emir of Songa, His Royal Highness Haliru Yahaya; the Registrar, National PostGraduate Medical College, Prof. Wole Atoyebi, and a former leader of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.A source said, “The NMA leadership is divided on the strike; whilesome, led by its current President, Dr. Kayode Obembe, are pushing for the suspension of the action, others said they would not suspend the action when the Federal Government has not listened to them.“If we suspend the action now, the present government and even subsequent governments won’t take us seriously any time we declare nationwide strike again. That is the major issue, and not any insinuation that somebody has been settled.”The President of NMA, Obembe, had a few weeks after his election, premised the strike on the failure of the Federal Government to address the doctors’ demands, saying there was no going back.The NMA had sent 24 demands to the government, including discontinuation of recognition of non-medical doctors as directors and consultants.The demands also include appointment of a Surgeon – General ofthe Federation, payment of clinical duty and hazard allowances and withdrawal of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s circular on medical laboratory equipment.“The NMA is taking this painful route because our silence and gentle approach to these contending issues have been taken for granted. We have to take this action in order to save the health care delivery system from anarchy that is palpably imminent. We hereby appeal to all Nigerians for their understanding and call on government to meet with our demands,” he stated.Obembe had stated that the failure of the government to address NMA’s demands had left the association with no other option than “to call all its members to down tool in order to press home their demands.”Copyright PUNCH.All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published,broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.Contact:editor@punchng.com
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