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Nigerian university teachers announce fresh strike as resident doctors refuse return-to-work order, over unfulfilled agreement

  • Nigerian Medical Association gives 21-day strike notice to FG over alleged failure to meet demands of striking resident doctors

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the umbrella body of university teachers in Nigeria have announced their plans to embark on another round of industrial action due to the Federal Government’s silence over their demands.

ASUU’s President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke says the union is giving the federal government till the end of the month of August (tomorrow Tuesday) to reach out to it or it will activate the procedure of embarking on strike.

Professor Osodeke complained that the Federal Government are not picking calls.

In March 2020, ASUU had embarked on a strike following its disagreement with the federal governmen over the funding of the universities and the ineffectiveness and discrepancies around the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System and others.

ASUU, however, developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution to replace IPPIS and had several meetings with the Ministries of Finance, Education, Labour and Employment, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation before it was approved but yet to be implemented.

Likewise, the FG and ASUU signed an agreement aimed at resolving some of the demands of ASUU, a development that led to the suspension of the strike on December 24, 2020.

Meanwhile, as the strike action by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) festers, the federal government has accused the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) of failing to fulfill its part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed nine days ago to end the strike by the NARD.

Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige said the 21-day ultimatum the NMA gave the Federal Government was in direct collision with the MoU it signed on August 21, 2021.

A statement by the spokesman of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, said the government was “religiously implementing its own side of the agreement, with effective monitoring by office of the minister”.

The statement reads: “First is that that the  NMA communiqué in Benin, which issued a 21-day ultimatum is at variance with the timeline in Article II, Vii, Vii and X of the MoA.

“Importantly, Article II on payment of the outstanding hazard allowance from the 2020 Medical Residency Training Fund states that the fund will be paid after verification and reconciliation of figures from the BOF. Till now, both NARD/Postgraduate Medical College are yet to submit the validated application for the eligible doctors missed out in 2020 to enable this payment.

“Article Vii on withdrawal of the circular from the Office of the Head of Service removing House and NYSC Doctors from the scheme of service the NMA should submit her position immediately to the FMOH PS (FMOH) for onward transmission to the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation with a view to processing and issuance of clarification circular within two months. The NMA is yet to comply with this.

“Similarly, the technical committee set up in article Vii to tackle the backlog of arrears on GISMIS was given four weeks effective Monday, August 31, 2021 to round off its assignments.  Is this not on collision with the 21-day ultimatum?

“Also, Article X of the MoU also states that the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) should facilitate the withdrawal of suits by MEDSABAM against National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) and the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure the amicable resolution of the issues. The NMA is yet to do this; yet, (it is) issuing a fresh ultimatum.

“It is, therefore, clear that the 21-day ultimatum will neither assist the NMA discharge the role assigned to it in the MoU nor facilitate the faithful implementation of the timeline which the federal government has given every attention.

“The truth is that NMA should play its role as the guardian of its affiliate associations instead of descending into the arena for needless fear of impeachment.”

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