The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has threatened striking doctors that the Federal Government may stop paying their salaries if they do not resume to work.
He said this on Friday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
According to Ngige, the Federal Government is empowered by labour law to stop paying salaries of the striking workers.
He also said the Federal Government has an option of employing local doctors.
The PUNCH had reported that members of the National Association of Resident Doctors began “a total and indefinite strike” on Thursday.
The doctors are demanding payment of salaries of house officers and an upward review of their N5,000 hazard allowance among others.
The minister, however, said medical council and Office of the Accountant General have been told “what to do” to ensure that the doctors suspend their industrial action.
He said, “Immediately after the holiday, I will talk to them again. I have told the medical council and accountant general what to do to make sure. Only 23 institutions are involved, not all institutions. I want to know what they (medical council and accountant general) have done by Tuesday.
“By Tuesday, I will invite them back. If they become recalcitrant, there are other things I can do. There are weapons in the Labour Laws, I will invoke them. There is no work, no pay.
“Their employers have a role also to keep their business afloat, to keep patients alive. They can employ local doctors. We won’t get there but if we are going to get there, we will use that stick.”
The minister added that the Federal Government would review the current hazard allowance of N5,000 in five weeks’ time without disclosing the proposed figure.
He said, “It is the last NMA President Faduyile that called my attention that the hazard (allowance) was ₦5,000. I raised it with the Finance Minister and the Vice President in the Economic Sustainability Meeting.
“The new hazard allowance will be done in the next five weeks. It is in the Memorandum of Action that we signed. Immediately after the Easter break, I will convene a meeting to look at it holistically.”
Before the doctors began the strike, government had on Wednesday night signed a memorandum of action with them.
The agreement was signed after a seven-hour meeting between the government side and the leadership of NARD at the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment.
However, the strike was effective in hospitals despite the agreement and efforts by the National Assembly as well as the Ministry of Labour and Employment to prevent it.
Eid: Buhari asks Nigerians to pray against banditry, kidnapping
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Wednesday asked Nigerians to pray against kidnapping, banditry and blackmail.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President made the call in his Eid-il-Fitr message.
The statement was titled ‘On the occasion of Eid, President Buhari calls for unity and solidarity’.
Shehu quoted the President as saying, “On this blessed occasion, I wish that the Eid festival brings with it peace, safety, security, brotherhood and love amongst all.
“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.
“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.
“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.
“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”
Insecurity: Southern Governors ban open grazing, ask Buhari to address nation
The governors in 17 states of the southern part of Nigeria have demanded the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.
The Forum stated this in a 12-point communique read by its Chairman, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, at the end of its four hours meeting held in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The governors affirmed that the people of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity, oneness, and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.
He said, “Southern Governors expressed very grave concern on the security challenges currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr. President should address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people.
“We observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals, and bandits into the Southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security.
“Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria.
“Agreed that the progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism.
“In view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency.”
The forum expressed concern about the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway.
The meeting, therefore, recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other states of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country.
The Southern Governors also expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic.
Fifteen governors were in attendance at the meeting.
They are Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos).
Others are Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Willie Obiano (Anambra). Imo and Akwa Ibom States were represented by their deputy governors, while Osun and Cross Rivers states were absent at the meeting.
Buhari sends delegation to Ghana over Nigerian traders’ plight
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the prolonged conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, disclosed this on Monday.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ifedayo Sayo, the minister spoke at a meeting.
The statement was titled, ‘FG delegation to visit Ghana over Nigerian traders’ conflict with Ghanaian counterparts.’
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that a ministerial delegation be sent to Ghana to resolve the lingering conflict between Nigerian traders and Ghanaian authorities,” the minister was quoted as saying.
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Adebayo, who said he would be leading the delegation, added that members of the delegation “will also engage in further dialogue with Ghanaian authorities with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.”
He disclosed that the delegation is expected to embark on the visit between May 31 and June 1, 2021.
Other member of the delegation include the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo; the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Yewande Sadiku; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the President of National Association of Nigerian Traders, Dr Ken Ukaoha.
There has been lingering controversy over $1 million levy imposed on Nigerian traders and foreign investors by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre.
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