Reps to NMA: Apologise to Nigerians
The House of Representatives Committee on Health has asked members off the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to apologise to Nigerians for their “unpatriotic” strike.
The NMA ended on Sunday night its national strike after 55 days.
The House committee said the apology was necessary because scores of people died and many others put into hardship of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that entered the country while the strike was on.
Addressing reporters yesterday in Abuja on the suspension of the NMA strike, House Committee Chairman Ndudi Elumelu said the failure to obey the agreements between the parties was fundamental to the crisis.
He said: “The leadership of the NMA has been described as unpatriotic, even by other Nigerian doctors and the public because of various health challenges confronting the nation and the scourge of Ebola Virus Disease, which erupted during the strike.
“Patriotic Nigerians at home and abroad have passionately condemned the action of the current leadership of the NMA. The committee has a final word for NMA. The NMA has suspended the strike, but it has failed to do one thing: apologise to Nigerians. The NMA should apologise to Nigerians for all the inconveniences and lives that were lost during the strike.”
The lawmaker noted that although the suspension of the strike was commendable, but it would have been avoided had the agreements between the two parties were obeyed and implemented.
He said obeying agreements was a lesson that must be learnt from the strike.
Elumelu said: “One of such lessons is the need to obey agreements. The law is pacta sunt servanda, meaning: agreements must be obeyed.
“If parties had obeyed previous agreements executed between the NMA and representatives of the Federal Government, the strike would have been averted. The lesson to learn here is that we must at all times obey contents of agreements freely entered into in order to avert crisis.”
The lawmaker urged the government and the NMA to be mindful of the resolutions reached by the House Committee during its third stakeholders’ meeting on the suspended strike.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the committee resolved as follows: that the Federal Ministry of Health granted the request of the NMA for a new circular, as demanded by NMA; that the Federal Government shall pay two months’ salary arrears to members of the NMA on or before July 31, 2014; that the balance of salary arrears would be reflected in the 2015 Budget and paid to members of the NMA; that the new salary structure of doctors would be reflected in the 2015 Budget and doctors will begin to get the new salary structure effective from January 2015; and that in view of (1) and (4) above, the NMA is expected and requested to call off the strike immediately in the interest of Nigerians.”
The lawmaker said in its meetings with representatives of the Federal Government, the NMA raised a 24-point demand, which includes the fact that Mr. President must appoint a Surgeon-General as Minister of Health.
“The question every Nigerian is asking is: was there anytime Mr. President abolished such appointment? Secondly, was there any bill that was passed at the National Assembly that Mr. President had refused to assent?” Elumelu queried.
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