By Luminous Jannamike
President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has begged resident doctors to suspend their industrial strike in view of the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country.
This was contained in a statement yesterday by NSCIA’s Director of Administration, Mr Zubairu Usman-Ugwu, in Abuja.
Usman-Ugwu explained that the leadership of NSCIA was worried and concerned about the strike, which he said, had increased the burden of vulnerable Nigerians.
He noted that the industrial action would not only adversely affect the health system of the country, but also go against the Hippocratic Oath to which members members of the National Association of Resident Doctors subscribed.
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“Without prejudice to the legitimacy of the demands of NARD, we urge the association to, in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath to which members subscribed, and in consideration of the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country, suspend the industrial action, while negotiation with the government continues,” he said.
The Sultan of Sokoto also urged the Federal Government to reconsider the moves to jettison further negotiations with the doctors, stressing that the anger of the government side, no matter its basis, would not ameliorate the suffering of ordinary Nigerians, who fall as helpless victims of the impasse.
“The government, therefore, has to vigorously and sincerely re-engage the leadership of NARD in a manner that would inspire the confidence of the medical doctors in the negotiation.
“The Federal Government also has a duty to coordinate the responses of other tiers of government towards addressing the grievances of the doctors,” he said.
While commending the intervention of the National Assembly and other concerned Nigerians in the matter, the monarch advised the Ministers of Health and Labour, Osagie Ehanire and Chris Ngige to intensify negotiations with a view to finding lasting solutions to the fundamental issues raised by the doctors.