Striking resident Doctors have said they are not moved by the threats made by the Minister of Labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

Dr Chris Ngige while speaking with newsmen on Friday, threatened to replace resident doctors if they don’t resume work on Monday, which marks the expiration of the ultimatum he had given the doctors. He warned that he could replace them with locum doctors or Medical officers while stating that the International Labour Organisation affirms that workers have the right to embark on an industrial action but not without its consequences.

According to him, the government is not entitled to pay any worker for the period he withdraws his services. Being essential workers, he claimed he should have been notified of the strike at least 15 days prior.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, highlighted that most of the matters raised by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) were the responsibility of state governments and not the Federal Government. He therefore advised them to resume work and take up the issues with the state governments.

In response, Dr Udoh, President of NARD, Cross River State Chapter, said, “Ngiges threat is laughable. It is quite laughable. What punishment do we give the Federal Government for people who have worked and have not been paid and have been put through untold hardship?”

The NARD strike began on the 2nd August, following the expiration of a 4-week ultimatum given to the Federal Government to implement the memorandum of understanding entered into with the doctors earlier this year.

The resident doctors have vowed that the strike would remain indefinite, despite threats, until the FG calls for another negotiation.

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