Nigeria’s labour minister Chris Ngige has implicated President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime in the illegal recruitment of medical doctors across the country.
Mr Ngige revealed this while defending why the regime has refused to pay some doctors their outstanding salaries.
On Tuesday, the labour minister claimed that the regime failed to pay the doctors because they were illegally recruited.
“NARD doctors fail to tell Nigerians that their colleagues who are owed salaries are the ones illegally recruited,” Mr Ngige argued. “Therefore, neither (were they) captured by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation nor were their payments provided for by the Budget Office of the Federation.”
The minister disclosed this at a meeting of the Presidential Committee on Salaries with the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).
He further pointed out that the regime would need more time “to capture and regularise” the doctors’ appointments before paying.
Mr Ngige’s comment came as the National Association of Resident Doctors’ strike continues.
The doctors in August embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike to press home their demand for the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding they signed in March 2021.
Mr Ngige argued that Mr Buhari’s regime usually paid salaries regularly and promptly.
He admitted that a few doctors and other workers were owed the 2020 COVID-19 allowance and the arrears of the consequential adjustment of the National Minimum Wage.
“Monthly salaries are done as and when due for those legitimately employed by the federal government. But not to those illegally employed and who need their appointments regularised and captured in the finances of the government for payment,” Mr Ngige explained. “This takes a process, which is not accomplished overnight.”