Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), has appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to suspend its ongoing strike.
Abubakar III, who is also the Sultan of Sokoto, made the call in a statement issued by the council’s Director of Administration, Mr Zubairu Usman-Ugwu, on Friday in Abuja.
The Sultan said that the leadership of NSCIA was worried and concerned about the strike, which he said, had increased the burden of vulnerable Nigerians.
“Without prejudice to the legitimacy of the demands of NARD, we urge the association to, in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath to which members subscribed, and in consideration of the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country, suspend the industrial action, while negotiation with the government continues,” he said.
Abubakar also urged the Ministers of Health as well as Labour and Productivity to reconsider their stance to abandon negotiations with the doctors.
According to him, the anger of the government side, no matter its basis, has not ameliorated the suffering of ordinary Nigerians, who are helpless victims of the logjam.
“The government, therefore, has to vigorously and sincerely re-engage the leadership of NARD in a manner that would inspire the confidence of the medical doctors in the negotiation.
“The Federal Government also has a duty to coordinate the responses of other tiers of government towards addressing the grievances of the doctors,” he said.
The two key ministries of health and labour, he said, should therefore intensify negotiations with a view to finding lasting solutions to the fundamental issues raised by the doctors.
In the meantime, he urged the doctors to suspend the current strike to allow for meaningful negotiation.
The Sultan, however, commended the intervention of the National Assembly and other concerned Nigerians.