Benue chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), has given the state government a 21-day ultimatum to pay outstanding salaries and allowances, or face strike action.
The ultimatum is contained in a communique issued at the end of an emergency meeting held on Monday in Makurdi.
The communique was jointly signed by the Chairman, Dr. Obekpa Obekpa, and Secretary, Dr. Nwaeze Chukwuemeka.
It said that the ultimatum would commence on Sept. 12, and end on Oct. 3, adding that a one-week warning strike would then be declared before an indefinite one, if the requests were not met.
The NMA decried the acute shortage of doctors in Benue’s hospitals, and disclosed that the state had “less than 50 doctors”.
The association expressed shock that government was forcing doctors working under the Benue State Bond Scheme to resign, saying that such step was strange for a state without adequate physicians.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the bond, signed by the state government in 2009, compels all graduating doctors of Benue origin to work for the state government upon graduation.
Mr Gabriel Suswam, then Benue governor, had premised the step on the need to minimise the shortage of doctors in the state.
The communique also accused government of “serially failing to honour agreements after collective bargains”, and declared that the doctors were running out of patience.
The association further alleged that health institutions were not properly funded, and lamented that basic medical consumables were lacking in most hospitals.
It called for more refresher courses for doctors to boost service delivery.