Doctors in Abia State have decided to end their indefinite strike, which was initiated during the previous administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
POLITICS NIGERIA reports that the strike was organised in protest against the backlog of unpaid salaries owed to doctors employed by the state.
The decision to suspend the strike was announced in a communique issued after an emergency general meeting of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) held on Friday in Umuahia.
The communique, jointly signed by Dr. Isaiah Abali, Chairman of the NMA, and Daniel Ekeleme, Secretary of the association, stated that the suspension was a result of productive discussions with the new state administration, which has demonstrated a commitment to resolving the salary arrears issue.
According to the communique, Governor Otti, in his inaugural speech, as well as his Special Adviser on Health, appealed to the doctors to halt the strike and return to work, assuring them that he would fulfil the promise to settle the outstanding salaries.
The NMA Abia State Executive Council stated, “Following thorough deliberations on the aforementioned observations, the NMA declares the suspension of the indefinite strike, effective from Friday, June 9th, 2023. All doctors employed in private, state, and federal capacities in Abia State are expected to resume work.”
The association emphasised that the purpose of the suspension is to provide an opportunity for the current administration to address the long-standing salary arrears issue.
They expressed hope that the government would swiftly fulfil its promise to pay the outstanding salaries, aiming to prevent a recurrence of the troubling circumstances experienced in the recent past.
The NMA highlighted that doctors in Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH), Hospitals Management Board (HMB), and the Ministry of Health are owed 23, 16, and 2 months of salary arrears, respectively. They also criticised the previous administration for failing to make any meaningful commitment towards resolving the salary issue.
The doctors’ strike, which commenced while Governor Ikpeazu was still in office, has persisted for several months without the government responding to the doctors’ demands.