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“Buhari is not a medical tourist” – Presidency issues disclaimer as Nigerian doctors set to begin Nationwide strike

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The Nigerian Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu Tuesday says Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is not a medical tourist during an interview with Channels Television monitored by NewsWireNGR.

A statement that goes in contradiction with Mr Shehu claims; as he in the same breath added, that the President has over the last 30 years has continued to patronize foreign doctors over Nigerian hospitals.

President Buhari left Abuja to London, the United Kingdom for a routine medical check-up, later today.

He is expected back in Nigeria during the second week of April 2021.

President Buhari had embarked on several medical trips between 2015 and 2019. During one of his trips in 2017, he spent 103 days in London with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, acting as the President then.

Shehu said further added, there’s absolutely no emergency (in President Buhari’s medical trip), “this is just a routine check-up”.

While the President sojourns away, amidst the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) have threatened to commence an ‘indefinite strike’ on Thursday if the Nigerian government fails to meet their demands.

The president of the association, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, confirmed the development in a communique issued at the end of the NARD’s extraordinary National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Saturday.

The president said the ultimatum given to the federal government to meet its earlier demands will expire on March 31, 2021 with no significant achievement.

“The NEC unanimously agreed that NARD should proceed on a total and indefinite strike on the 1st of April 2021, by 8 am if the demands are not met,” Mr Okhuaihesuyi said.

Resident doctors, who are undergoing training to become consultants, make up a large percentage of doctors in Nigeria’s tertiary hospitals.

The doctors are demanding, amongst other things, payment of all salaries arrears, review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance especially in state-owned tertiary Institutions.

“Immediate payment of all salary arrears including March salaries for our members in all Federal and State Tertiary Health Institutions across the country especially ASUTH, IMSUTH and UNIMEDTH,” the president said.

“Upward review of the current hazard allowance to 50 per cent of consolidated basic salaries of all health workers and payment of the outstanding COVID-19 inducement allowance especially in State owned-tertiary Institutions.

“Payment of death in service insurance for all health workers who died as a result of COVID-19 infection or other infectious diseases in the country.”

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