• We’ll resolve issues with NARD, ASUU soon –Presidency
• SSANU, NAAT, NASU begin action Monday
From Desmond Mgboh, Kano, Laide Raheem, Abeokuta, Oluseye, Ojo, Ibadan, Magnus Eze and Uju James, Abuja
Some patients affected by the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by resident doctors across the country have appealed to the Federal Government to resolve the doctors’ demands amicably to save their lives.
They spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews yesterday in Lagos, on the ongoing nationwide strike by the doctors.
The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had, on September 4, directed its members nationwide to embark on an indefinite strike to press home their demands.
One of the patients at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, Mrs Faith Ehijie, who brought her son for routine clinic, appealed to government to look into the doctors’ demands in the interest of the poor patients.
While expressing disappointment with the doctors’ action, Ehijie said: “By now, the nation ought to have gone over the issue of strike in our health institutions. Government should make the doctors’ welfare a priority to avoid frequent strike; we all know their importance in the society.
“The clinic routine is not as usual today because some of the doctors are on strike, and this makes the process to be slow.
Another patient at the hospital, Mr Adeoti Oki, commended the hospital management and other doctors on ground for their abilities to manage the patients in spite of the resident doctor’s strike.
“We didn’t expect to get attention; although it is a bit slow, as you can see, we are still being attended to.
“We still want the government to please resolve the issues with the doctors who are on strike, so the service can get better,” he said.
Another patient, Mr Badaru Ahmed, said he was waiting for his turn to see a doctor who was attending to the patients in the waiting room. When contacted, the LASUTH Chief Medical Director, Prof. Adewale Oke, said the hospital was working and patients were being attended to.
“We are working and attending to the patients on ground,“ he said.
Meanwhile, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the federal government is working round the clock to ensure the strike embarked upon by the resident doctors is resolved in the shortest period of time.
Adesina, who expressed hope that the doctors, in the interest of the public, country and the health care sector, would soon come to amicable resolution, maintained government was not insensitive to the doctors’ demands.
He stated this in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, while featuring on a Sweet FM programme, ‘The Podium’, on Tuesday.
On the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), he said the federal government would speed up negotiation with the union to end its industrial action which had paralysed academic activities in the nation’s universities.
Regardless, legal luminary and Pro-Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University (ACU), Oyo, in Oyo State, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has appealed to the federal government and ASUU to reach a compromise and end the ongoing strike in order to safeguard the future of Nigerian children.
Olanipekun made the appeal yesterday when he fielded questions from journalists after he commissioned 10 capital projects worth over N45.6 million built through direct labour under the leadership of the vice chancellor, Prof Dapo Asaju, on the campus of the institution.
He said: “The earlier the government and ASUU put an end to these constant industrial actions, the better for all of us, the better for our children and the better for the generation yet unborn.”
Also, former Minister of Education, Professor Jibrin Aminu, has appealed to university lecturers to end the strike and return back to their classrooms.
Prof Aminu, who was a onetime Vice Chancellor of University of Maiduguri, made the appeal yesterday, in his remarks at the 4th Annual Conference of the Association of Communication Scholars and Professionals which took place in Kano.
He urged the striking lecturers to take what was being offered them at the moment by their employers, even if it did not capture all their demands.
Meanwhile, the non-teaching staff unions of the institutions, yesterday, rose from a meeting in Abuja, declaring indefinite strike with effect from Monday.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) which issued the notice of resumption of its suspended nationwide strike, said government had remained silent on their demands, including the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with them on January 18, 2017.
Their position came ahead of today’s meeting between the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the government to find solution to the intractable issues which led to a nationwide strike by the university teachers, which entered its third week on Monday.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, SSANU President, Samson Ugwuoke, flanked by Presidents of NAAT (Sani Sulaiman), NASU (Chris Ani) and other national officers of the unions, regretted that government had ignored them despite letters and entreaties reminding them of their commitment to the non-teaching staff unions.
Ugwuoke explained that the decision to resume the suspended strike was endorsed by over 95 per cent of their members in the branches through a plebiscite.