Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday in Abuja, specifically begged the doctors not to down tools in the middle of COVID -19 pandemic when he met with officials of the government and the NARD on how to address the issues that led to the planned industrial action.

The move is to avert the planned strike by members of the latter.

At a meeting that lasted about three hours were the Minister of Health, Prof Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze; President, NARD, Sokomba Aliyu; and the Secretary-General, Nigeria Medical Association, Ekpe Philips, among others.

Gbajabiamila said, “As a House, we will keep taking steps to avoid strikes. This meeting will give us the opportunity to holistically address the issues at stake. Let us agree on one thing: that at this time, we can’t afford to allow our doctors go on strike. Let us agree that their welfare is a priority.

“I want to appeal to the President of NARD and the association itself: my appeal is on humanitarian basis. You’re dealing with lives, so I appeal to you to suspend the strike. I’m making this appeal because of your professional calling. You’re dealing with lives. I want you to understand that government is doing its best to meet your entitlement.”

The NARD had on Saturday issued a 14-day ultimatum to the government to immediately implement all the agreements it had with the association or its members would embark on an indefinite strike.

Apart from unpaid salaries, the Doctors are complaining that their members are not well equipped to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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