Members of National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja have embarked on a three-day warning strike over non-payment of shortfalls in their salaries. They took the decision to down tools during their emergency congress at the hospital premises on Monday.
Justifying the industrial action, Dr. Adejo Arome, NARD President, FMC Jabi-Abuja chapter, claimed the money meant for payment of the salary shortfall had been deposited into the hospital account in December 2019 but was not disbursed. He noted that N20 million was released by Federal Government to pay the resident doctors the December salary shortfall arrears but stressed that the hospital account section had yet to pay.
“Though the Acting Medical Director of the hospital was willing to pay the arrears, he was advised otherwise by Mr. Bako Achi, the hospital’s Head of Accounts,” he alleged. He said the doctors would only rescind their decision, if concrete evidence was given to them to show sincerity of purpose on the part of the hospital’s management. Arome said, “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.
“We would only back down on the strike, if we received alert as evidence of payment for the December 2019 salary shortfall arrears, or a document signed by the hospital managing director directing the Accountant to pay the shortfalls.”
He also claimed that as at yesterday the hospital’s management had done nothing tangible to prevent the industrial action. Besides the warning strike, the resident doctors called for the redeployment of Mr Bako Achi, accusing him of insubordination, and other actions that constitute barrier to their progress. In a unanimous vote, the resident doctors also called for auditing of the hospital’s Internally Generated Revenue last December.
They stressed the need for the hospital’s management to declare its position on the status of contract doctors in the tertiary health institution. The resident doctors described the non-regularisation of the doctors’ appointments as slavery, considering their workload vis-a-vis the stipends they were paid.
In his reaction, Achi said he would not respond to the allegations against him, saying it would amount to breach of protocol. He, however assured that the issue of because the doctor’s salary shortfall, and the intrigues which culminated into the warning strike would be treated by the hospital’s management. “Civil service has rules, I am not oblige to speak, I am not the spokesperson of the hospital, we have human resources department,” he said.