In a show of determination, the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) at Kogi State Specialist Hospital (KSSH), Lokoja, is poised to rally its members for an open-ended strike action. This move comes after the elapse of a 21-day ultimatum, sternly issued to the leadership of Governor Yahaya Bello’s administration to address their grievances.
Recalling the initial stance taken by the resident doctors, on August 9, they had issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Kogi State Government, warning of an indefinite strike if their demands were not met. This decision followed the suspension of their two-day industrial action, directed by the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
The ultimatum was strategically designed to pave the way for dialogue and engagement with the state authorities. However, the recent announcement regarding the potential indefinite strike was revealed through a statement jointly signed by Dr. Ameh Friday, President of ARD KSSH, and Dr. Peter Samuel, Secretary General. The statement was made accessible to journalists in Lokoja on Saturday.
The statement emphasizes, “The ARD KSSH wishes to emphasize that today marks the 21st day since our last communique and one month since we suspended our industrial action as directed by the National Body – NARD. We did this to give the government an opportunity to address our pressing demands, which are as follows.”
It continues to outline their demands, which include the upward revision of CONMESS 2014 to CONMESS 2023 and approval of the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) for the years 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. The doctors also seek a review of hazard allowances in line with the National Salary, Income, and Wages Commission’s December 22, 2021 release, along with the implementation and financial support for promotions, including arrears for annual increments and promotions.
The statement serves as a stern reminder of the association’s initial communication and reiterates their commitment to addressing these pressing concerns. It underscores the emotional and psychological strain experienced by its members in the Kogi State Specialist Hospital due to the unsatisfactory working conditions and challenging economic realities.
The ARD plans to convene a Congress meeting in the next seven days to evaluate the progress made thus far and make critical decisions regarding their demands, signaling their unwavering determination to secure their rights and better working conditions.