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Strike: Resident doctors agree to sign MoU with FG

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The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with the federal government in an effort to end the ongoing strike.

 

On August 1, NARD embarked on strike over “irregular payment of salaries”, among other issues.

 

Efforts of stakeholders, including the house of representatives, to mediate between the federal government and the resident doctors did not yield results.

 

The industrial court had restrained members of NARD from continuing with the action, after the federal government filed a suit against the association on August 23.

 

Specifically, the court said: “It is hereby ordered that claimant/applicant and the defendant/respondent suspend all forms of hostilities forthwith pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

 

At the court session on Wednesday, Tochukwu Maduka, counsel representing the federal government, said he has filed a case of contempt against NARD.

 

“Despite the order of this court that all hostilities be suspended, the defendants who render essential services have refused to call off the strike,” he said.

 

Femi Falana, counsel to the doctors, told the court that he has filed a further affidavit in support of notice for stay of execution. He also opposed the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.

 

However, Falana added that parties should go back to the negotiation table. He said going back to the negotiation table is in line with the order to suspend hostility.

 

“We can resume today or even tomorrow if a decision is reached,” he said.

 

While Bashar Alkali, the judge, stood down the matter for ruling, parties in the case gathered to reach a consensus.

 

Speaking with journalists after the court session, Maduka said: “Counsel for the resident doctors approached us on behalf of his clients indicating that they want the matter to be settled and that they are prepared to go back to work.”

 

On his part, Falana said: “We had consultations on both sides with our clients and with the lawyers of the government and we have agreed to come back on Friday to report the efforts we have made.”

 

“There is an agreement that was not signed by our client. We’ve studied the agreement and we have advised our client that since there is a clause in it that nobody shall be penalised or sanctioned for participating in the industrial action. We believe that there should be no inhibition in signing the agreement trusting that there would be good faith on the path of the government so that we can put this matter behind us.”

 

The judge adjourned the matter till Friday for ruling.

 

He asked parties in the suit to try and resolve the issues before Friday.

 

“Both parties should try and shift grounds so that the country can move forward,” the judge said.

 

He also restrained parties from making defamatory comments to the press and on social media.

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Lai Mohammed insists no proof protesters were killed at Lekki tollgate

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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said there is no proof that any protester was killed at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos in October 2020 during the #EndSARS protest.

Some soldiers on October 20, 2020 were said to have opened fire on protesters in an attempt to disperse them allegedly leading to the death of many.

Mohammed, who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, described the 2020 event at the tollgate as a “phantom massacre”.

“Today marks the first anniversary of the phantom massacre at Lekki tollgate in Lagos, which was the culmination of an otherwise peaceful protest that was later hijacked by hoodlums,” the minister said.

The minister also said, “At earlier press conferences, I had called the reported massacre at the tollgate the first massacre in the world without blood or bodies.

“One year later, and despite ample opportunities for the families of those allegedly killed and those alleging a massacre to present evidence, there has been none: No bodies, no families, no convincing evidence, nothing. Where are the families of those who were reportedly killed at the toll gate? Did they show up at the Judicial Panel of Inquiry? If not, why?”

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Adebanjo leads Afenifere chieftains on visit to Tinubu

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Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has led other chieftains of the body on a visit to national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at his home in Lagos.

Others on the visit are Chief Supo Sonibare, Oba Olaitan Oladipo, and retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Tunji Alapini.

The visit came a few days after Tinubu returned from a medical trip to the United Kingdom where he underwent knee surgery.

The Punch reported that the last time Tinubu and Adebanjo met was in April when the former Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, died.

Prior to the visit, Adebanjo had told PUNCH Online interview programme, The Roundtable, that the reason why Tinubu had been silent on the herdsmen crisis was that he felt President Muhammadu Buhari would make him his successor.

In another interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, Adebanjo stated that Buhari won’t hand over power to Tinubu, adding that they were both deceiving each other.

He said, “I have said it openly before and I would say it again that Buhari is deceiving Tinubu and Tinubu is deceiving Buhari. I’m an old man and I’m a funeral candidate already, so quote me. If Tinubu contests the primary in APC today, he will fail.”

Adebanjo then advised Tinubu and other APC members from the South-West to leave the party in the interest of Yorubaland.

 

He said, “I have always told them, from Tinubu downwards, that it’s better they save themselves speedily. I’m talking to all of them, that in the interest of Yorubaland and the country, they should get out of the carcass they call APC. I made a public pronouncement that they were a conglomeration of incompatibles. It’s on record. I said it then and I’m still saying it now; if they don’t save themselves early enough, then they are ready for a disaster.”

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COVID-19

Kaduna gives civil servants 12-day ultimatum on COVID vaccine

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The Kaduna State Government has given all civil servants in the state 12 days to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or be barred from office.

The ultimatum was announced in a statement issued on Tuesday by Muyiwa Adekeye, spokesman for the state governor, Nasir el-Rufai.

According to him, all civil servants are expected to be vaccinated by October 31, after which they would be denied entry into government offices if they failed to comply with the directive.

“The Kaduna State Government will from 31st October 2021 require compliance with COVID-19 protocols, especially facemasks and vaccination, for access to its offices,” the statement said.

“The Ministry of Health has since commenced the vaccination of all civil servants, and this is expected to be completed by 31st October 2021. All civil servants are required to be vaccinated by that date.

“Visitors to government offices will need to present their vaccination cards. Given the limited supply of vaccines that are currently available, visitors that have not yet been vaccinated will, in the interim, be permitted entry upon presentation of evidence of registration with the state Ministry of Health for the purpose of vaccination, while wearing their facemasks.”

Adekeye said the decision was taken following a review by the Kaduna COVID-19 task force, and urged residents to ensure strict adherence to the protocol for preventing the spread of infections.

According to the statement, Amina Mohammed-Baloni, Kaduna commissioner for health, has also asked residents to register at the nearest primary health centres for vaccination “so that the relevant authorities can easily contact them as more Covid-19 vaccines become available”.

The development comes weeks after Edo began its ‘no vaccination, no entry’ campaign, which bars unvaccinated civil servants from entering government offices.

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