The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has announced an indefinite strike, leaving the nation’s healthcare system in turmoil.
The decision comes just a day after a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, in Abuja, where pleas for postponing the strike were made in hopes of further negotiations.
However, the doctors’ union, in a resolute statement released on Wednesday morning, asserted that they can no longer place their trust in the government‘s promises.
Their primary demands, which have gone unaddressed for too long, have reached a tipping point:
1. Immediate payment of the 2023 Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF): A crucial stipend for the professional growth and development of doctors that cannot be overlooked.
2. Urgent release of the circular on one-for-one replacement: Ensuring adequate manpower in healthcare institutions is essential to meet the growing healthcare needs of the population.
3. Payment of skipping arrears: Fair compensation for doctors’ years of hard work and dedication to the profession.
4. Upward review of CONMESS (Consolidated Medical Salary Structure) in line with 2014 values: A step towards recognizing doctors’ contributions and improving their standard of living.
5. Payment of the arrears of consequential adjustment of minimum wage to omitted doctors: Ensuring that no doctor is left behind in the wake of changing economic conditions.
6. Reversal of the downgrading of the membership certificate by MDCN (Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria): Protecting the professional dignity and rights of doctors.
7. Payment of MRTF, new hazard allowance, skipping, and implementation of corrected CONMESS in State Tertiary Health Institutions: Ensuring equitable treatment for doctors across all healthcare institutions.
8. Payment of omitted hazard allowance arrears: Acknowledging the immense risks and sacrifices doctors make, especially during times of crisis.
The decision to strike did not come lightly as it followed a meeting in June with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who promised to address all outstanding grievances. Despite assurances, the doctors feel left with no choice but to take this extreme step in pursuit of their just demands.
The strike has the potential to severely impact healthcare services nationwide with thousands of patients at risk of being left without proper medical attention.
Burkina Faso’s Military Junta Foils Attempted Coup Amid Ongoing Instability
Burkina Faso’s military junta announced its successful thwarting of an attempted coup this week, once again highlighting the nation’s precarious stability in the face of an ongoing Islamist insurgency.
The fragile transitional government, led by Colonel Ibrahim Traore, found itself targeted by a group of military officers and their cohorts seeking to plunge the country into chaos.
Government spokesman Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo released a statement late Wednesday, confirming the arrest of the individuals behind the plot, while asserting that those still at large were actively being pursued.
Traore, who took power a year ago after overthrowing Interim President Henri Paul Sandaogo Damiba, has been on edge due to the persistent specter of coups.
To address security concerns, Traore recently appointed new heads of the security services, including the National Intelligence Agency, following the arrest of several army officers accused of plotting against the state.
Ouedraogo reassured the public that a thorough investigation would be conducted to shed light on this latest attempted coup.
This incident in Burkina Faso underscores the troubling trend of military leaders seizing power in African nations, with Niger and Gabon experiencing similar developments in the past two years.
The West African nation remains at a critical juncture, teetering between democracy and instability as it grapples with internal and external threats.
French Ambassador Departs Niger Amid Escalating Tensions: Macron’s Pledge to Withdraw Troops Looms
Ambassador Sylvain Itte, along with six colleagues, left Niger’s capital, Niamey, on a flight bound for Paris via Chad.
This departure comes three days after French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed the withdrawal of the French envoy and pledged to withdraw approximately 1,500 French troops stationed in Niger by the end of 2023.
The abrupt exit of Ambassador Itte, as reported by Agence France-Presse, occurred at around 4 a.m. on Wednesday and followed the deterioration of relations between Niger’s military leaders and their former colonial power, France.
The strained relations were primarily triggered by the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum in a coup on July 26, a coup that led to the severance of military ties between the two nations.
Macron’s initial refusal to adhere to the August 28 deadline set by the junta for Ambassador Itte’s departure only served to heighten the diplomatic standoff.
The junta had cited alleged French “actions contrary to Niger’s interests” as the reason for the ambassador’s expulsion.
In the latest development, the coup leaders formally requested a timeline for the withdrawal of French troops from Niger. Macron had previously confirmed his commitment to completing the withdrawal by the end of 2023, further emphasizing the changing dynamics of the Franco-Nigerien relationship.
On Wednesday, President Macron engaged in talks with Nigerien Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou, during which he reaffirmed France’s support for President Bazoum and expressed his country’s eagerness to see a return to constitutional order in Niger.
This statement from the Elysee underscores France’s continued involvement in Niger’s internal affairs despite the recent diplomatic tensions.
As both nations navigate these turbulent waters, the future of their diplomatic and military relations remains uncertain.
The departure of Ambassador Itte is just the latest chapter in this evolving saga, and it raises questions about the implications for France’s historical ties to its former colony and its broader strategic interests in the West African region.
G-20 Grants African Union Equal Membership Status to EU
The Group of 20 nations has reached a consensus to confer permanent membership status upon the African Union.
This significant move is aimed at empowering the African continent with a stronger voice in addressing pressing global issues, including climate change and emerging-market debt.
The announcement was made by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who served as the host of the G-20 summit held in New Delhi over a two-day period.
During this historic event, President Azali Assoumani of Comoros, who currently holds the presidency of the African Union, was warmly embraced by Prime Minister Modi and offered a seat at the summit table.
This strategic decision, which has been previously reported by Bloomberg News, grants the 55-member African Union the same prestigious status enjoyed by the European Union within the Group of 20.
European Council President Charles Michel expressed his delight regarding this development in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
He expressed eagerness for close cooperation between the African Union and the European Union within the framework of the G-20, solidifying the commitment to address global challenges collectively.
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