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Strike: ‘No work, no pay’, Ngige threatens doctors

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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.

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“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.

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Breaking News

[BREAKING] Arms fund probe: Finally, Army chief appears before Reps

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, is currently appearing before the House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on the Need to Review the Purchase, Use and Control of Arms, Ammunition and Related Hardware by Military, Paramilitary and Other Law Enforcement Agencies.

The committee had no less than two times invited Attahiru and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to answer questions on the procurement of arms and ammunition.
On Friday, the committee, after a long wait, postponed the investigative hearing till Monday.

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Earlier on March 22, 2021, the committee had, after the failure by the CBN governor and the COAS to appear before it, summoned them to appear before on April 7, 2021.

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Leadership

Ramadan: Look out for moon Monday, Sultan tells Muslims

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The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has directed the Muslim Ummah to look out for the crescent (moon) of Ramadan 1442AH from Monday.

Abubakar gave the directive on Sunday in a statement issued by Prof. Sambo Junaidu, Chairman, Advisory Committee on Religious Affairs, Sultanate Council, Sokoto.

“This is to inform the Muslim Ummah that Monday, April 12, which is equivalent to the 29th day of Sha’aban 1442AH shall be the day to look for the new moon of Ramadan 1442AH.

“Muslim are, therefore, requested to start looking for the crescent moon on Monday and report its sighting to the nearest District or Village Head for onward communication to the Sultan,’’ the statement read.

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The Sultan prayed Allah to assist Muslims in the discharge of their religious duty.

Junaidu gave telephone numbers that could be used directly to report the sighting of the new moon to the committee.

The numbers are 08037157100, 07067416900, 08066303077, 08036149757, 08035965322 and 08035945903.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar observed by Muslims worldwide as a month for fasting, prayer, reflection and assisting the needy.

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Prince Philip’s funeral to take place April 17, says Buckingham Palace

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The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, will take place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on April 17, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday.

The ceremony at Windsor, west of London, which will be televised but have no public element because of coronavirus restrictions, will be preceded by a national minute’s silence.

Also Read: Wike bans meeting of Igbo group in Rivers

Royal officials said the 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh’s grandson, Prince Harry, would attend, but his heavily pregnant wife, Meghan, had been advised against travelling from the United States on medical grounds.

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