Division Among Striking Doctors, Hampering Negotiation – President Buhari

Following the ongoing doctor’s strike, President Muhammadu Buhari after a meeting with the doctors on Friday, has stated that, the striking doctors and other health workers should return to their duty posts, adding that embarking on industrial action when Nigerians need them the most is not the best action.

He reportedly added that his regime has a good  record of paying all debts owed to government workers, and he also gave  the assurance that outstanding benefits owed to medical doctors will be cleared after verifications.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the president stated that, “The lives of citizens that could be lost or damaged when doctors withdraw services, are precious enough to be worth opting for peaceful resolution of differences.’

He added that, “Protecting our citizens is not to be left to the government alone, but taken as a collective responsibility, in which especially medical professionals play a critical role. Let me speak directly to the striking doctors.

“Embarking on industrial action at this time when Nigerians need you most is not the best action to take, no matter the grievances.”

He disclosed that, “This administration has a good track record of paying all debts owed to government workers, pensioners and contractors and we have even revisited debts left by past administrations, once due verification is done. Debts genuinely owed to health workers will be settled.”

He made it known that, “I learnt that some of the 12 points demanded in the ongoing strike were already addressed, though the review of a new hazard allowance has not been fully negotiated because of the sharp and deep division within the ranks of the striking doctors.’’

The president gave the assurance that, “We are also supporting initiatives to expand health insurance coverage and bring more resources to health financing. We have many more challenges ahead and much more to do, for our large population.”

He continued that, “In this respect, it is important to remind you that, as senior medical personnel and representatives of one of the most respected professional groups in the world, your responsibility for the health and wellbeing of Nigerians are clear.”

He stressed that, “It does not end only with the welfare of your members, but continues with a sense of responsibility for the entire country and its socio-political health and national stability.”

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Esther Ifeoluwa

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