Unpaid salaries: NMA gives Ikpeazu 21-day ultimatum

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The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, has issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Abia State government to clear the backlog of salary arrears owed doctors in its employ or the entire health sector would be shut down.

In a letter that NMA addressed to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, NMA vowed that doctors in the state both in public and private hospitals, would proceed on total and indefinite strike action if government failed to meet its demand before the expiration of the ultimatum.

The letter jointly signed by the NMA Chairman, Dr Isaiah Abali; and Secretary, Dr Daniel Ekeleme, decried the plight of doctors in the state’s employ following months of unpaid wages.

Striking doctors in a Nigerian hospital

According to the letter, “doctors working in the Health Management Board ( HMB) are owed 12 months salary arrears, while Resident Doctors in ABSUTH are owed 20 months and other cadre of Doctors in ABSUTH 24months”.

It read in part:”Nigerian Medical Association ( NMA) Abia State Branch hereby gives Abia State Government a 21-day ultimatum to clear all the outstanding salary arrears owed doctors working in Abia State University Teaching Hospital ( ABSUTH) Aba and Hospital Management Board (HMB).
“If ABSG fails to clear the said arrears at the expiration of the 21 days, all doctors in Federal, State and Private employ in the state will embark on a total and indefinite strike.

“This communique serves as the notice of the proposed action.”

NMA urged the State Government to do the needful “in finding an acceptable solution before the expiration of this notice to avoid a total collapse of the entire health institution in the state.”

The letter explained that the decision to embark on the indefinite strike was in compliance with a directive by the national leadership of NMA.

“Nigerian Medical Association in her August 2022 National Executive Meeting in Gombe State, directed NMA Abia State to issue a 21-day ultimatum to Abia State Government to pay up all salaries owed doctors under the state employ; at the expiration of which all doctors in State, Federal and Private employ in the State, are to proceed on total and indefinite strike.”

Doctors had earlier in the year downed tools over accumulated salary arrears of their colleagues at ABSUTH and HMB, but later resumed work after the State Government paid for few months.

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