Almost two weeks since Nigerian doctors resumed strike action, there has not been much progress on how to resolve the recurring issues bedevilling Nigeria’s health sector. The strike action by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) lingers on without any respite in sight.
Following a Memorandum of Action (MOA) signed in April by the striking doctors and the government representative, Chris Ngige, the doctors are making their grievances known once again.
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Interestingly, and for the second consecutive instance in recent time, the downing of tools by the doctors seemed to be appropriately cued with the occasional journey to London, England by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It appears that the medical doctors are passing a subtle message that the president’s incessant trips to London are morally wrong at a time the nation is facing a health crisis.
Eight days after Buhari’s arrival in London, protesters gathered in front of the Nigerian House in Central London, Trafalgar Square, to continue to pressure the president to return to Nigeria.
The conference that the president leveraged on his umpteenth medical tour to London has been concluded since July 29. The conference, titled Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) 2021-2025 even held virtually wherein participating leaders did not have to physically travel; yet, President Buhari decided to stay behind getting treatment for an undisclosed medical ailment that has affected his ability to efficiently govern the Nigerian nation.
Back home, the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, continues to pile in excuses why the government cannot pay doctors what they yearn for. Ngige, himself a trained medical doctor before the claws of politics claimed him, can no longer figure what the challenges the profession and the health sector faces.
Another official of Buhari’s kitchen cabinet, Osagie Ehanire, who doubles as the Health Minister, maintains that the government cannot prevent Brain Drain as medical doctors continue to access better-paying opportunities in foreign countries.
The Minister also accused the doctors of using the anxiety surrounding the newly rising cases of Covid-19 infections to push their demands for arrears being paid and for better workplace regulation.
Meanwhile, a former Vice president and PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had something to say about the inconsistencies in government policy as it relates to the downing of tools by the striking doctors:
“The strike action by resident doctors should have been averted. The timing is wrong and can only exacerbate the conditions of Nigerians already facing multiple challenges.”
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Brushing aside the President’s oversight of what his responsibilities to the nation are, the legislators seem to have permanently regaled General Buhari (retd.) as untouchable and/or unworthy of criticism.
As far as the presidency is concerned, as long as the president returns to the country within the 28 days constitutionally allowable for the president’s absence, the body language being propagated is that he can stay away from his primary assignment of leading the nation.
Nigerians may be getting used to bad behaviour such as this one directly from the presidency; until an actual crime or unconstitutional action is taken by the presidency, the leader of the nation may just be getting a free ride at hypocritical actions such as this.
Featured image source: Premium Times
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