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Nurses postpone strike indefinitely

The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives has postponed its industrial action scheduled to begin on Monday, its National President, Mr Abdulrafiu Adeniji, has said.

Adeniji, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja, said the postponement was informed by progress being made in the ongoing discussion between the union and the Federal Government.

“That ultimatum on the commencement of strike cannot be now. So far, there is progress in our discussion with the government.

“The meeting we had last was productive and it was at the instance of the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr Clement Illoh.

“Some of the contentious issues were exhaustively discussed and the way forward was agreed to by all parties involved.

“It was agreed that a memo should be written to that effect and we are glad that on Friday, the memo was written and all anomalies were corrected,’’ he said.

He said that the memo was presented at the meeting of the National Council on Establishment, which ended in Ilorin on Friday.

Adeniji, however, said that the council, which comprised all the permanent secretaries, ministries of health and heads of service in the 36 states, demanded further information on the memorandum.

He said that because the required information was not immediately available, a committee was constituted to handle the issues and others contained in the memoranda submitted by the ministry of health at the meeting.

“We had thought that they will reject the memo on our demands but we thank God because the memo presented on our case was specially considered.

“As a result, a special committee was set up to look into the pending memos submitted to the meeting from the ministry of health.

“It is that committee that we are going to sit with to clear all issues that were pending as at the Ilorin meeting due to lack of adequate information.’’

Adeniyi also said the council, at the meeting, accepted the beginning of internship by fresh graduates from Nigeria universities, adding that the committee would consider the salaries and other entitlements for the interns.

He said the outcome of the Ilorin meeting was “encouraging” but hinted that the union could consider embarking on the strike if the report of the committee failed to properly address the issues.

NAN recalls that the union had on Feb. 24 said that a series of court judgments since 1981 directing the Federal Government to professionalise nursing had been ignored.

It had drawn attention to the 1984 case on nurses’ professionalism, autonomy and scheme of service, among others, at the Industrial Arbitration Panel and had planned to call out its members on strike on March 3.

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