End resident doctors’ strike now, Ooni urges Buhari

The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to end the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) without further delay.

Ooni Ogunwusi made the call on Thursday at Ile Oodua Palace, Ile-Ife, during the inauguration of the South-West Traditional Leaders’ Committee on Public Health Delivery, by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

Describing the strike action as highly unfortunate, the Ooni, who is the co-Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, noted that health workers are essential service providers who should not abandon their duty posts no matter what.

“I am aware of your relentless efforts towards ending the strike as quickly as possible but Nigerians cannot wait any further. The strike action has brought a lot of hardships to Nigerians especially the poor and other vulnerable persons who cannot afford privately owned health facilities which obviously is now the alternative,” Ooni admonished.

Speaking further on roles of traditional rulers in efficient public health delivery, Ooni Ogunwusi noted that the relevance of kings and chiefs across the country particularly can be attested to by their roles in the fight against the Ebola virus disease, polio and others.

“We are the closest to our people, palaces have no doors and that is why it is easy for information to reach all of our subjects immediately we send them. They believe us so much too by the virtue of our tradition and we are upholding these good traits.

“The newly inaugurated Southwest Traditional Leaders’ Committee on PHC Delivery is indeed going to formalize the enormous works of traditional rulers across Yoruba land and I can assure you that Nigerians are going to benefit immensely from this initiative,” the Ooni added.

In his response, the Minister of Health promised that efforts would be doubled to ensure that the current industrial action being embarked upon by health workers would be brought to an end.

“This is a time when we face different challenges in the health sector due to the adverse effect of COVID-19, it is not the best time for doctors to be going on strike. We are working to ensure that they resume soonest and I want to assure Nigerians that this would be achieved very soon,” he said.