The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire has urged resident doctors in the country to call off their strike action, saying the present government will keep to its promises to them.
Dr Ehanire made the appeal on Friday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
While reacting to claims that the government has not kept to its promises to the health workers, Dr. Ehanire said the President Muhammadu Buhari government has a track record of being sympathetic to the people and keeping its promises.
“We have made it clear to them (doctors) that this government is the most sincere and serious government this country has ever had. His (Buhari) word is his bond,” the minister assured.
According to him, “This government has a record of being sympathetic to people, of meeting its obligations and keeping to its promises.”
He recalled that the present government paid the Nigerian Airways pension arrears as well as kept to other promises it made to Nigerians.
Doing ‘Things Differently’
The Minister, however, lamented that it is hard to convince people who do not want to be convinced about the government’s sincerity, adding that a lot has changed in the country since this present administration came on board.
He, therefore, called on the striking doctors to reconsider their action for the interest of the country, assuring that government will keep to its end of the bargain.
“This government does things differently,” he explained. “This is a government that says its word and keeps to its words. We would not do anything to hurt you. We work in your (doctors) interest.”
According to him, Nigeria cannot afford to have the doctors on strike at this time when the health system is strained globally due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Ehanire added: “We are going through a very difficult time with other countries and this is quite clearly not the time to add more to our problems by deciding to go on strike.
“I am worried that we are probably the first and only country where doctors have decided to go on strike.”
Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike on Monday.
NARD President, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, announced this while addressing a press conference on Monday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
He noted that the union has decided to exempt its members working in various coronavirus (COVID-19) isolation and treatment centres across the country.