Minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, has lampooned Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) describing their demands and ultimatum as “absurd”.
NARD threatened to go on strike on Saturday if the government didn’t agree to its demands within two weeks.
In addition to paying resident doctors’ salary arrears, the association sought concrete action on the “upward review” of the unified medical salary structure (CONMESS).
The group also opposed a draft that would have required doctors and dentists to work for five years in the country before moving overseas.
In response to the demand, Ngige stated that it shows “entitlement syndrome” and added that the government has provided “everything they want” for resident physicians.
He continued by saying that the law attempting to restrict the movement of healthcare professionals is a “private member bill” and is outside the purview of the administration.
“So if the national association of resident doctors whom we have been managing their matters and have given everything they want,” the minister said.
“If you decide that we have not done enough, as I have said before, you have the option to go. It is now left to the ministry of education and health to fashion out what we can do because we train people free of charge.
“They pay a small amount for education compared to their colleagues in UK and US.
“So you also asked that a bill be taken to the national assembly be removed and that is one of the reasons you want to go on strike, how can the government remove a private member bill — it is not even an exclusive bill.
“That is absurd. That’s entitlement syndrome and the sense of entitlement is too much in this country.”