In a significant development, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has decided to temporarily suspend its planned nationwide daily protest after a closed-door meeting with key figures from the Senate on Tuesday. The doctors, who had been preparing for a peaceful protest set to begin on Wednesday, have taken this decision while awaiting further developments in the ongoing negotiations.
Emeka Orji, President of NARD, conveyed that the association will reevaluate the situation within the next 72 hours. “Following our discussion with the Senate president, majority and minority leaders, and Whip, we have put a hold on the planned protest scheduled for Wednesday. We will reassess the situation within the next 72 hours,” stated Orji after the meeting, which included President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, and other key Senate members.
Describing the meeting as productive, Orji noted, “Our interaction with the Senate, particularly the President of the Senate, has left us optimistic. We are hopeful that presenting our concerns to the National Executive Council will yield positive outcomes. The practical steps demonstrated by the Senate President during the meeting have instilled confidence in us that progress will be made within the next 24 hours.”
Orji further explained that a final decision regarding the ongoing strike would be made once the association convenes and deliberates on the matter.
Akpabio, in response, expressed gratitude to the medical professionals for their decision to call off both the anticipated national protest and the strike. He remarked, “On behalf of the Senate, I extend our appreciation to you for your choice not only to cancel the proposed public protest but also to suspend the strike, keeping in mind the welfare of the suffering populace.”
He assured the doctors that their demands have been duly noted and emphasized the Senate’s commitment to promptly addressing these concerns. “As soon as a Health Minister is appointed, the Senate will collaborate closely to expeditiously tackle the issues you’ve raised. The administration led by President Bola Tinubu maintains a favorable stance toward doctors, as evident by the considerable number of medical practitioners in his cabinet,” Akpabio affirmed.
Akpabio also underscored the importance of preventing medical strikes due to the significant disruptions they cause within the nation.
This development showcases a momentary pause in the medical professionals’ planned protest, highlighting the ongoing discussions between NARD and Senate representatives. As the negotiations continue, the medical community and the public await further updates on the resolution of these pressing concerns.