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FG approves N4.5bn allowance for striking doctors

In bid to fast-track return of striking resident medical doctors to hospitals, the Federal Government has released the sum of N4.5 billion to 31 Federal Teaching and Medical Centres across the country.

The fund, according to the government, would cover hazard and inducement allowances for the month of April and May, which had been complaints of the medical staff before embarking on ongoing strike.

In an interview with newsmen on Friday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, assured the striking medical staff that their welfare is paramount to Buhari led administration.

Ngige said the payment would ameliorate the plight of resident doctors who embarked on industrial action across the country under the umbrella body, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD). over unpaid salaries and allowances.

The resident doctors announced the commencement of a nationwide “indefinite strike” on Monday morning in a communique issued at the end of their ‘virtual extraordinary National Executive Council Meeting’.

Earlier, NARD president, Aliyu Sokomba, said doctors downed tools over unpaid salaries, non-payment of hazard allowance, and a dearth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals among several other reasons.

According to the NARD president, the association explored several other options and after realising the non-commitment of Federal Government, it decided to embark on strike.

The government had threatened to invoke the ‘no work no pay rule’ on the striking doctors on Tuesday after a meeting it had with the doctors ended in disagreement.

Health minister Osagie Ehanire directed all medical directors in all public hospitals across the country to open a register by 7 a.m. from Wednesday and record ‘those who come to work and those who fail to come to work’.

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