The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Kogi yesterday directed its members to resume the strike they suspended on June 22, 2017, following the failure of the state government to meet their demands. The association said in a communique after an emergency congress in Lokoja at the weekend and signed by the Chairman, Dr. Godwin Tijani and Secretary Dr. Zubair Kabiru, that the resumption of the strike was due to government’s alleged failure to fulfill its promises to meet all their demands.
They said that the recent payment of 60 per cent salary and arrears to doctors in the state civil service was haphazard and not acceptable. According to the statement, all associations and unions dues as well as members/cooperative contributions were remitted to the tune of 60 per cent or less, while P.A.Y.E tax attributable to each member were deducted to the tune of 100 per cent. NMA added that those doctors that were owed backlog of salary arrears of upward of 11 months were yet to be paid, issues of underpayment remain unresolved. “Congress, therefore resolved that all her members across the state should resume total and indefinite withdrawal of health care services from all hospitals in Kogi, with effects from 12:00 midnight on Sunday, Jan 7, 2018. We want government to give a definite time line for the full implementation of adjusted CONMESS for doctors in the state civil service and their accrued arrears since January 2014. “Payment of the balance of 40 per cent salary and arrears to all doctors working with the Kogi civil service, and payment of the arrears being owed. “Congress will reconvene once government respond appropriately to the aforementioned demands,” the statement read. The association however appreciated Commissioners for Health, Dr. Saka Haruna; for Finance, Mr. Asiwaju Idris, and the Chief Medical Directors (CMDs) of Specialist Hospital Lokoja, and the Hospital Management Board, all the medical elders, who were at the congress to douse tension and ensure peaceful resolution. The association also commended their members especially those who were mostly affected for their patience and understanding. NMA had extended to December 31, 2017, the ultimatum it gave to the state government to meet its demands or face strike. The ultimatum was extended due to the reassurances from the state government to meet the demand of members of the association before December 31, 2017.