Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) at Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, embarked on a three-day warning strike over non-payment of shortfalls in their salaries.
The decision of the doctors to embark on the warning strike was agreed upon at its emergency congress held on Monday.
The payment of salary shortfall by Federal Government to resident doctors across the country started in 2014, but the strike is based on non-payment of the doctors’ December 2019 shortfall arrears.
Dr Adejo Arome, the President of the association, while addressing the congress, said that the strike became necessary because money meant for payment of the salary shortfall had been paid into the hospital account in December 2019 but was not disbursed.
He said that “though the Acting Medical Director of the hospital was willing to pay the arrears, he was advised otherwise by Mr Bako Achi, one of the hospital’s heads of Account.”
Arome added that N20 million was released by Federal Government to pay the resident doctors the December salary shortfall arrears but the money had not been paid.
He noted that the doctors had resolved that until concrete evidence was given to them, the strike would go on.
Arome said that in spite of the acting managing director’s directive that the money be paid, the hospital account section had yet to pay.
He added that “the acting MD placed a call to the Accountant in my presence in respect of the N20 million released, but he failed to pick his call.”
He explained that nothing tangible had been done to prevent the strike, “except the document signed by the hospital managing director directing the Accountant to pay the December shortfalls.”
The president of the association said “we would only back down on the strike if we received alert as evidence of payment for the December 2019 salary shortfall arrears.”
In a unanimous vote, the resident doctors called for the removal of Mr Bako Achi, the hospital’s Accountant,
“for insubordination and non-release of the salary arrears.”
They said that Achi had become a clog in the wheel of their progress and must be taken to other department to forestall further showdown in the hospital.
The resident doctors called for auditing of the hospital’s Internally Generated Revenue from December 11 till date, while also demanding for definitive stand on the status of contract doctors who were said to be paid stipends.
According to them, the doctors’ appointment should be regularised and be absorbed into the hospital system, describing it as a form of slavery in modern system.
Reacting to the allegation, Achi said it was not in his place to react to the allegation made by the resident doctors, adding that the hospital management would handle it.
Achi said “I work under government and I have superiors ahead of me, if the resident doctors laid an allegation against me that there is money and I refused to pay, I want them to know that there are protocols.
“Civil service has rules, I am not oblige to speak, I am not the spokesperson of the hospital, we have human resources department.”