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Resident Doctors’ Strike Bites Harder As Hospitals Discharge Patients




Only critical patients left on admission; FG, NARD yet to meet

It is hardly the ideal time for Nigerians seeking medical care, especially at the nation’s tertiary health facilities, as the National Association of Resident Doctors, or NARD, has crippled hospital services and abandoned patients to their fate due to its nationwide total and indefinite strike.

A visit to some of the hospitals revealed total compliance with the strike as only a few Consultants and House Officers were rendering skeletal services to patients with serious complaints.

However, new appointments were not given to patients as doctors were absent from their duty posts to do that.

Although the Consultants who are senior doctors were attending to emergency cases, many patients were turned back, including patients that required surgery.

Our correspondent gathered that despite the recent announcement by the Federal Government’s of 25 percent salary increase, the striking doctors have remained adamant.

For the doctors, it is either the Federal government meets their stated demands or they are not returning to work. Some were even quoted as saying that patients should go to the President for their medical treatment.

At the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, NOHIL; Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, to other tertiary health institutions nationwide, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja the situation was the same.

For instance, at both the LUTH and LASUTH on Monday, hospital services were disrupted following the strike. Some of the patients who spoke to Good Health Weekly, lamented the effects of the strike.

Some patients who were attended to but asked to return after the doctors resumed, gave kudos to the Consultants who attended to them, even as others that were turned back or left unattended, decried the high cost of transportation to and from the hospitals.

Around 11:00 am when our correspondent visited LUTH, a few patients were seen in the waiting areas. Although there were skeletal services in some of the hospital clinics, a number of patients claimed they were told to go back home, as doctors were not on the ground to give out appointment dates.

At the surgery department, a patient told our correspondent that although it was her first time at the hospital, she was lucky to be among patients asked to stay.

The patient who identified herself as Jennifer said: “The doctors are on strike. I was told to come back on Thursday. I was referred here for surgery. They have many patients here, if these few doctors are not working, you can imagine thousands of patients that would have died today. Many of these patients paid so much to be here but were sent home unattended,.

“I pray that the government answers them fast. Nigerians are suffering. I am coming all the way from Ikorodu to this place. It is not funny as transportation is high.”

Another patient encountered at the Pharmacy area, claimed that the doctors were attending to patients based on the seriousness of their ailment.

“Not every patient is being attended to. Some people that came in the morning along with me were not attended to. The doctor did not even waste time with me but asked me to get some of these drugs.”
A nurse at LUTH who did not want her name in print told Good Health Weekly, that patients in the wards have been discharged and that only a few that are unable to go home were still in the wards.

“We are not admitting new patients and those in the wards have been discharged. We have a few patients in the ward that cannot be discharged. Consultants are coming around to check them but many have been discharged. Many of them were discharged over the weekend. If you have patients please tell such patients to go to other hospitals, not LUTH. The doctors are on indefinite strike and no one knows when they will return to work,” she stressed.

Also at LASUTH, a man who brought his mother to the hospital was asked to take her to another hospital.

According to the man, who identified himself as Mr Ugo, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, but a nurse at the Oncology department advised him to take her to another hospital and they could not get another appointment since doctors were on strike.

Confirming the situation at LUTH, the Vice President of LUTH-ARD, Dr Omogbolahan Adenuga, maintained that the strike at the hospital remained total and indefinite.

“We have told our members to stay at home but Consultants and House Officers are working.”
He said the strike will only end when the government is ready to negotiate with them and meet their demands.

Asked what happens to patients, Adenuga who stated that patients should be sent to the President for treatment, argued that they were demanding the review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure to its rightful value.

“Though the government has done something, we vehemently reject that paltry 25 per cent. They have also given a 25 per cent allowance quarterly; it is ridiculous we have told them that we don’t want it.

“In this job, you must be mentally okay before making decisions on people’s lives. We are saying that what they are offering cannot take us home again; we are saying that the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure should be reviewed.

“To review this is to tackle brain drain. Doctors are travelling abroad because of poor infrastructure, poor welfare, and poor working conditions, among others. These are the things we are asking for, and I don’t think these things we are asking for are too much.”

Adenuga disclosed that they had discharged patients in the wards and were not seeing patients presently.
“All Resident Doctors are at home. We are not working for now. We are not taking new patients for now. All patients should stay at home for now or they should be taken to the Federal Government,” he stated.
Also, giving an update on possible negotiation with the medical doctors, the National President of NARD, Dr Emeka Orji said the Federal government had not reached out to them.


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China Reaffirms Commitment To Nigeria, Renovates Ogun School



The Chinese Consul-General, Lagos, Yan Yuqing, has reiterated the commitment of the People’s Republic of China towards assisting Nigerian government to develop its education sector.

The Chinese Consul-General disclosed this during the commissioning of renovated China-Nigeria Friendship Model Primary School, Igbesa in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.

Yuqing said China is quite convinced that education is the foundation of national development and a weapon to fight poverty.

He said China is always willing to partner with her host country to make meaningful investment in the critical sector

The projects sponsored by the Chinese Consulate and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone included a block of classrooms, cafeteria, as well as donation of educational materials to the pupils of the school.

Yuqing said, “Chinese admire that education is the foundation of national development in the long run and strong weapon to fight poverty. All modern countries in the world do not fail to attach importance to education. As the largest developing country in the world, China has made remarkable achievements in all aspects of social development.

“These achievements are inseparable from our unswerving implementation of the strategy of invigorating China through science and education. And we always place education in a strategic position of priority development. We will continue to support Nigeria’s education system in all areas”.

She added, “Eleven years ago, the construction of this school began. Since then, this school has become a bridge of friendship and understanding between Nigeria and China and it has witnessed sincere friendship from China.

“Today, you can see here, the classrooms are more spacious, the campus is more beautiful, and the facilities are more complete. I hope that all the children will study harder in these improved classrooms and strive towards achieving their goals as soon as possible”.

While advising the pupils, the Consul-General said, “Children education is related to the future of a country; now you are the future of Nigeria. Work hard and fight for a better tomorrow for the prosperity of Nigeria.”

The Deputy-General, China-Africa Investment, Kevin Liu, said the China-Nigeria Model School stands for knowledge, cultural exchange, and mutual understanding, saying, “These values promote global peace and cooperation and we are committed to maintaining this standard for generations to come”.

Governor Dapo Abiodun, who was represented by a Commissioner-designate,Mr. Sesan Fagbayi, disclosed that the project would no doubt further foster smooth bilateral relationship with the Chinese government.

Abiodun has however appealed to the residents of Igbesa to continue to cooperate with the Chinese investors for peace and friendly environment in order for their businesses to thrive.

The Oloja-Ekun of Igbesaland, Oba Oluwatoyin Akinde, represented by Otunba Ade Durojaiye, lauded the Chinese Consulate and Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone for the project pleading for more support in developing the town.

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Fresh Strike Looms As NLC’s Ultimatum Expires Today



AS the ultimatum by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to the Federal Government to address the mass suffering and pains occasioned by the removal of subsidy on petrol expires today, the leadership of the Congress will meet next week to decide when to begin an indefinite nationwide strike.

But Vanguard gathered that the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, has been meeting with some members of the government team on how to avert the strike.

It was also gathered that the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Simon Lalong, alongside the Vice President, are putting together a package, including wage awards, to be presented to the NLC leadership.

It will be recalled that NLC had between Tuesday, September 5 and Wednesday 6 embarked on a two-day nationwide warning strike to protest, among others, perceived government insensitivity to plights and sufferings of Nigerians, especially workers, following the subsidy removal.

Ahead of the warning strike, the National Executive Council, NEC, of NLC had issued within 14 working days or 21 days from September 1, 2023, an ultimatum for the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and the impoverishment experienced around the country, threatening an indefinite strike if government failed to address its demands.

As the 21-day ultimatum expires today, Vanguard learned that critical organs of NLC will be meeting next week to decide on the indefinite strike and modalities if nothing concrete was done to lessen the suffering and hardship of Nigerians.

A source said: “The issue is conventional, when an ultimatum expires, you call your organs and the organs will decide when to commence the strike. If we ever decide to say we would take one day or few days or one week to prepare for it, that would be their position.”

Pressed to be more categorical on whether the strike would commence immediately, one of the sources privy to the NLC meetings simply said “Nothing is impossible.”

‘Meeting to hold on a date for the strike to begin’

Another source told Vanguard that the “last NEC held on September 1, 2023, has actually given the leadership of NLC, especially members of the National Administrative Council, NAC, the go-ahead to meet, fix a date for the commencement of the indefinite strike and communicate to the state councils and industrial union affiliates.

“I can tell you that the leadership will meet next week and fix a date for the strike. However, if NAC members are convinced that the government has addressed our demands to an appreciable level, in such a case, the leadership will still call the organs to brief them of the development.”

‘Govt team working to avert strike’

The source, however, said available information revealed that the government team is working seriously to avert another round of industrial unrest by NLC.

He said further that both the minister of finance, and the vice president, who is standing in for the President who is attending the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, Summit in New York were considering some figures.

“So they know the seriousness of the planned action and some of them are speaking out boldly that they are not afraid because of the package they have for workers.

“Available information is that the government will soon announce what it has. They are really making efforts and again the President is not in the country.

“What we don’t know is whether what they have will be enough for NLC to consider or not. In the past two to three days, the vice president has been meeting with some of the government team to come up with something. “

The source made it clear that the NLC leadership had said it would not be part of any meeting if there were no tangible packages for workers.

Attempt to get a reaction from the Presidency did not yield any results as the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale, is out of the country.

The presidential spokesman is with the President in New York for the UNGA summit.

Recall that while briefing last Friday, after its NEC’s meeting, NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said: “NEC-in-session of NLC resolved to embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the nation within 14 working days or 21 days from today until steps are taken by the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and the impoverishment experienced around the country.

“To commence a two-day warning strike on Tuesday and Wednesday, 5th and 6th September 2023 to demonstrate our readiness for the indefinite strike later in the month and to also demand that the state vacates the illegally occupied national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. “

The NLC also resolved to embark on a mass protest and rally in Imo State within September, and equally raised the alarm over what it described as a renewed onslaught by the government and its agents on labour unions.

Ajaero explained that the proposed strike was necessitated by the government’s deliberate neglect and disregard to engage the relevant stakeholders through the channel of social dialogue.

He said the Federal Government had refused to engage and reach an agreement with organized labour on critical issues on the consequences of the unfortunate hike in prices of petrol which had unleashed massive suffering on Nigerian workers and masses.

Ajaero said: “There is a renewed onslaught against trade unions and its leadership by the state and its agents across Nigeria.

‘’The Police, under the instruction of certain forces peddling the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, invaded and occupied illegally the national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers headquarters seeking to install its own executive.”


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Kogi Declares Free Education In Primary, Secondary Schools; Commences Distribution Of Palliative



The Kogi government on Thursday declared free education for indigenes at primary and secondary school levels.

Governor Yahaya Bello made the declaration in Lokoja when he inaugurated the distribution of the federal government’s palliatives to cushion the effects of subsidy removal.

“My administration has now declared free education from primary to secondary school in the state and will cover examination fees for WAEC, NECO, and JAMB for all indigenes of Kogi,” he declared.

Mr Bello, who commended the federal government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of fuel subsidy removal on citizens, said the palliatives, which were valued well in excess of N2 billion,  would reach intended beneficiaries regardless of political, religious, or ethnic affiliations.

He extended his gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for the idea.

“Already, all the local government areas of the state have commenced the distribution of rice and other essential items.

“Therefore, this launch is essentially an extension of our ongoing efforts to cushion the impact of the current policy on our citizens.

“We are not only distributing rice but also making cash available to reach the people. The total value of what we are launching for distribution today exceeds N2 billion, and it is intended to reach every household in Kogi,” he stated.

He emphasised that those responsible for the distribution must not discriminate, warning that any report of bias or favoritism, or hoarding would be dealt with accordingly.

The governor, who called on security agencies to ensure a peaceful and smooth distribution process, assured the people that more initiatives to alleviate hardship were in place.

He commended the state’s people for their support for Mr Tinubu’s administration and the New Direction administration in Kogi, which had prioritised the welfare of residents.

While mentioning the various infrastructure developments that had taken place across the state, Mr Bello expressed confidence that the governorship candidate of the APC, Usman Ododo, when elected as his successor, would continue to build on the current achievements. 


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