We Are Not Strike Mongers…JOHESU to FG

…As NMA Blames Former NARD Exco For lingering Strike

Please find JOHESU statement signed by its National Chairman, Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah and a statement by Charlse Akpan, Spokesman for Ministry of Labour and Employment on NMA

Date: 28th September, 2021

PRESS RELEASE:

WE ARE NOT STRIKE MONGERS, ACT NOW ON OUR 15-DAYS FRESH STRIKE NOTICE BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA), wish to remind the Federal Government to act before it is too late On its fresh fifteen day notice as contained in her communique issued on Friday 17th September, 2021 at the end of the last expanded National Executive Council meeting 
 
It will be recalled that the expanded NEC comprising of the Presidents and General Secretaries of affiliate unions and Professional Associations, NEC members of affiliate unions and JOHESU Chairmen and Secretaries at the State and Branch levels on Friday September 17, 2021, critically appraised the reports of JOHESU negotiation and conciliation meetings with Federal Government since the declaration of the trade dispute through the earlier fifteen days strike notice issued on 2nd September, 2021, which expired on 18th September, 2021.

It is pertinent to draw the attention of the federal government to our fresh fifteen(15) days strike Notice, which is billed to expire in the next few days and for it to act to avoid shutdown of hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
 
We wish also to inform the general public that our NEC noted the appeal from President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to show understanding with his administration and the President’s pledge to pay any debt owed health workers.
 
We would also wish to note some of the resolutions reached at the end of our meeting, to show that we are not strike mongers, but just for the federal government to act according to agreements reached.
 

  • We have asked the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure speedy circularisation of all establishment and welfare matters as agreed during negotiation meetings.
     
  • We Equally asked the Federal Government to ensure that the new data for the computation of the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for JOHESU members be completed and submitted to the “High Level Body” (HLB) of the FG not later than Wednesday, 22nd September, 2021 as agreed.
     
  • We also urged the Federal Government to ensure that the “High Level Body” (HLB) complete and submit the computation of the adjusted CONHESS for inclusion in the 2022 budget on or before the 30th of September, 2021 submission window.  
     
    We charged the Federal Government to reciprocate the patriotic humanitarian gesture of JOHESU in the interest of the larger Nigerian masses to expeditiously resolve all the demands within the fifteen days window.
     
    We unanimously adopted a resolution to step down the first notice of strike action which expired mid-night 17th September, 2021 and issued a fresh notice of fifteen (15) days. 
  • While we push for better welfare and conditions of service for our members, we urge the federal government to reflect the promises of Mr President in the activities relating to our demands to ensure continuous industrial harmony in the health sector.

Signed: Comrade Biobelemoye J. Josiah, National Chairman.
 

PRESS RELEASE 28/09/2021

NMA BLAMES FORMER NARD LEADERSHIP FOR THE LINGERING STRIKE

The Nigerian Medical Association(NMA) has attributed the ongoing strike by the Nigeria Association of Residents Doctors (NARD) which has entered its 58th day to the uncooperative attitude of the immediate past leadership of NARD.

The President of the NMA, Professor Innocent Uja made the assertion while leading the newly elected leadership of the association to a familiarization meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment , Senator Chris Ngige, today in Abuja .
“ I’m here with the newly elected officers of NARD . They came to me and we had a meeting , very cordial , meaningful interaction . And after that , I told them that I had secured appointment to introduce them to you which I thought should be private but even if it goes on CNN , it means we have opened a new chapter, very positive chapter because a chapter can be bad.

“ We cannot pretend that all is well . We had to look at some of the things that have unraveled since 2nd August . As you know, I’m a man of peace and my leadership is for peace . And we really want to resolve this once and for all, so we can move on. Nigerians are suffering and we can’t allow it to continue.

“ I, as the President of the NMA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with every other persons here in my belief, in my considered opinion that we are working on the same platform, that we truly believe in what we signed and I have no doubt that what I signed was not in error . I signed with full understanding of the content of what we were signing . We believe that what is holding us from going back to work can be resolved . And we are not asking for everything now because there are twelve point agenda . Some can go for a while and others can be resolved today or would have been resolved yesterday.”

Assuring that the new leadership of NARD has a better understanding of the issues in contention and have a better approach to resolve them with the cooperation of the Federal government , Uja said.

“This new leadership of NARD was only elected last Friday, they came to me and we had robust discussion and today, we are in your office. That will show you the seriousness of the new leadership of NARD. In the past , NARD elected officers and they never came to me, never came to the NMA. But here we are with you together , because we are all one .

“ So , with these young boys I came with , I’m sure we can do a lot to ensure we normalize what is happening . We also know that at no time did the NMA back out from its support for NARD but if you know the insult I have been getting . But I’m not worried because it is a leader that gets insult . If our President can be insulted , then who is Uja ? The most important thing is that we are focused on resolving these issues , so that people will go back to work.

In his remark, Senator Ngige said it was unbelievable the former leadership of NARD took doctors to four different strikes in twelve calendar month, describing it as strange and a bastardization of the medical profession.

According to Ngige, “ that leadership was a bad example to the practice of medicine anywhere. Worst is that all their actions came against manifest efforts and commitment of the Federal Government to meet up with their demands. We all hope the new EXCO will be different. Let all of us as doctors say never again shall we allow our noble profession be dragged through this ignoble path.

“ What do you say of a NARD leadership that gave me an award of honour less than a year ago? The leadership that in April this year, described me as a medical elder with contributions to the medicine practice, commending me for the swift resolution of each matter they bring forth.

“The same NARD that in July said Nigeria would be a better place with public servants like Ngige. It is the same NARD leadership in a strange swing of character, uncharacteristic of doctors, rebuffed the appeal by the President, the intervention by the National Assembly and all critical stakeholders, walked out on a well-thought out Memorandum of Understanding signed by all the parties after two days of negotiation. An MOU that has all the elements intended to solve the lingering problems in the health sector once and for all. What kind of leadership is that ?
The Minister noted that the most strange and an all-time low was the attempt by the former leadership of NARD to justify its strike with comparison to that of university lecturers.
“ ASUU , each time it goes on strike , comes back during agreement with a pledge to cover all lost hours and they do. But we doctors, how do we bring back those who have died in the hospitals because of strike , because there was no doctor to treat them?
Ngige who narrated the trajectory of the strike, added that he had to transmit the matter to the National Industrial Court when it became clear that NARD was not interested in the resolution of the dispute. He expressed optimism that with the new steps by the NMA , leading the new NARD leadership, a silver lining was in space.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire joined the meeting after Ngige’s remark and the session is ongoing .

Charles Akpan
Deputy Director Press and Public Relations