Abia Doctors Threaten To Shut Down Over Unpaid Salary Arrears

Abia Doctors Threaten To Shut Down Over Unpaid Salary Arrears

By Blessing Otobong-Gabriel

The Nigeria Medical Association, NMA in Abia State has threatened to shut down the entire health sector of Abia over unpaid salary arrears.

The Chairman of NMA, Dr Isaiah Abali, in Abia, made this known during a protest organised by the association at the Government House on Thursday in Umuahia.

The leadership of the association had on Dec. 9, 2022, declared an indefinite strike after the government allegedly failed to respond to its 21-day ultimatum.

The Chairman said the protest was organised to express their grievances over non-payment of salaries regularly and to state clearly that NMA was not affiliated to any political party.

Abali noted, doctors in Abia State University Teaching Hospital(ABSUTH) and Hospital Management Board (HMB) were owed 25 and 13 months salary arrears, respectively, saying the association was prepared to take serious steps to ensure that the issue of non-payment of doctors’ salaries would be addressed.

“We are resolute, even if it means closing the hospitals until the present government leaves office, we are ready.”

“It has been a game of giving excuses like ‘we can generate money to pay ourselves’, and ‘government does not have money.’

“Workers deserve to be paid their wages and the payment of the wages should not be politicised.

“If the government is saying ‘no-work-no-pay’, what about the work done without pay. Are you going to pay interest on it?

He urged the government to clear the unpaid salary arrears of doctors before enforcing the “no-work-no-pay” policy, adding that it would be wrong to use a blanket punishment for everyone.

Abali said that the association would not relent until its demands are met.

In the same vain, the Secretary of the association, Dr Daniel Ekeleme, said the current situation of non-payment of salaries had plunged doctors working in ABSUTH and HMB into untold hardship and depression in a country that is experiencing serious brain drain of healthcare workers, the government should not be seen owing doctors.

He called on men of good will all over this country and beyond to prevail upon Abia government to pay their salaries. 

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