Reps Speaker, Abbas To Meet Resident Doctors, Others On Thursday
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D, will again, on Thursday, meet with relevant stakeholders over the crisis between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
Majority Leader of the House, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, made this known at the plenary on Wednesday, which the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu, presided over.
The meeting will be coming after Speaker Abbas met with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Tuesday, in fulfilment of his promise to NARD earlier on Monday, as part of the efforts of the House to resolve the crisis.
At the plenary on Wednesday, the leadership of the House expressed displeasure with NARD’s decision to continue with its planned strike despite the intervention by the Parliament.
A member of the House, Hon. Unyime Idem, during the plenary, attempted to move a motion of urgent public importance on the strike declared by NARD on Tuesday night. The immediate past Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Wase, however, raised a point of order to note that the Speaker was already working on the matter.
The Majority Leader, in his explanation, noted that the House’ interventionist moves would continue despite that the resident doctors have downed tool.
Prof Ihonvbere said: “As Rt. Hon. Wase explained, the Speaker had a meeting with the NARD and some stakeholders (on Monday) on this issue and pleaded with the union to hold on, on the strike, and give the House two weeks to resolve the matter; and the two weeks were to include this visit to Mr President to bring him up to date on the relevant issues. He also set up an ad hoc committee which is being chaired by my humble self to hold dialogues with the critical stakeholders.
“I want to inform (the House and the public) that Mr Speaker has since met with Mr President and a significant progress in terms of addressing the needs of the doctors that are now on strike. Second, we have scheduled a meeting for tomorrow with all the stakeholders, including members of the NARD. So, discussions are on.
“(Former Chairman of the House Committee on Healthcare Services) Dr. Tanko Sununu is here and he has been in touch with the NARD President, and they are going to be at this meeting tomorrow along with other stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, the Accountant-General of the Federation; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and Planning; even the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.”
The Deputy Speaker who presided over the session noted that the motion of urgent public importance showed that “we are sensitive to the needs of Nigerians,” adding that, “We are not asleep where Nigerians are panicking on issues bothering on their health.”
Commenting after Hon. Idem stepped down the motion to allow the House leadership’s intervention, Kalu said: “Let me say this to the medical officers who are striking: The fact that the highest level of the parliament has started engaging with you shows how important your demands are. It shows how seriously we have taken your issues. I want to urge you to exercise more patience.
“You have heard the chairman of the ad hoc committee that was set up by Mr Speaker to look into this, stating publicly that we would be engaging with you tomorrow. Kindly oblige the Speaker of the House who is making efforts to see that the Executive arm attends to your reasonable needs. This is my appeal from the House and I pray that the striking officers from the medical sector would consider this, as we also pledge to make sure that you are not ignored in your quest to have a better working condition in serving our people.”