By Sola Ogundipe & Chioma Obinna
Doctors under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, yesterday, withdraw their services from public hospitals across the federation.
The phased warning strike, which is to protest failure of Federal Government to implement a mutual agreement to meet demands for impro-ved welfare and other emolu-ments, will be called off in the first instance after five days.
It is expected to continue after the yuletide season in the second phase, barring any progressive development on the crisis.
In a telephone interview, the NMA President, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, said the association was making good its threat, following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum issued weeks ago.
Enabulele, who told Van-guard that the planned action for withdrawal of services was going on as planned, urged Nigerians to disregard information to the contrary.
He said: “We had a meeting called by the Minister of Labour and this meeting lasted from 3.30p.m. on Monday till 5a.m. on Tuesday.
“The meeting had in attendance, ministers of Labour and Health; Chairman, House Committee on Health, and a delegation of the NMA.
“Others included the Permanent Secretary, Labour and Health, representatives of Salaries & Wages, the Head of Service and Budgets Office.
“The meeting raised a memorandum of understanding, MoU, where the government side signed a promissory note that they will attend to the demands by January 6, 2014.
“It was also agreed that if government could meet the minimum demand of the issues at stake in terms of income, wages and discrepancies in our salaries and lastly funding of healthcare, we would reconsider.
“If they can reach at least one of the demands, we will reconsider our stand. But they only came up with the MoU, which was not part of our agreement with doctors.”
Enabulele pointed out that NMA cannot on basis of the MoU decide whether or not to continue with the strike.
“Only members can take decision because they have once been and deceived by an MoU,” he added.