The Federal Government has again urged the striking doctors to obey the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) which ordered them to return to work immediately, according to Ngige.
He insisted that the FG said negotiations on the demands of the striking doctors would continue with their primary employers – the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).
Ngige spoke on Tuesday, September 22, following the failure of the striking members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD); to resume work on Monday.
Last Friday, the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja ordered the doctors to return to work; but NARD said it would appeal the ruling.
On Monday, NARD President Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi said the association would not return to work; adding that it would appeal the ruling.
He also accused the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment of deliberately sabotaging the Budget Office’s efforts to pay its members’ Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) for 2020 and 2021, which amounted to N5.4 billion.
But in his message yesterday, Ngige said his ministry was neither involved in receiving nor cleaning out the “fake resident doctors” from the list submitted.
The minister, who described the allegation by NARD president as “misinformation,” said his ministry was not involved in the payment of NARD members from the Budget Office or Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
He wondered why NARD would want to “take money enshrined in a memorandum of understanding” it refused to sign.
Ngige said: “That’s misinformation. My ministry is neither involved in receiving or cleaning out the ‘fake Resident Doctors’ in the list submitted. But by the MoU 2021, N4.8 billion was ready. We’re not involved in the payments from Budget Office/Accountant-General.
“We’re not their direct employer. The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) is. They should obey the National Industrial Court order; go back to work, then back to their employers. If they have difficulty on the new way forward, as ordered by court or breakdown, they shift to us again.
“Do they want to take money enshrined in an MoU they refused to sign or refuse to obey the court order that asked them to call off their strike immediately; and thereafter continue discussing further; but want to enjoy money as captured in MoU? Let them go back to their employers to discuss.
“They had discussed yesterday (Monday). From the brief I got from the FMoH Labour Desk, they will continue today.”