Buhari leaves for UK checkup as doctors threaten fresh strike

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will on Friday proceed to London for “a scheduled medical  follow-up.”

His Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this on Thursday in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari off to London Friday for medical follow-up.’

The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari will proceed to London, the United Kingdom on Friday, June 25, 2021, for a scheduled medical follow-up.

“He is due back in the country during the second week of July, 2021.”

Buhari leaves for London at a time of looming threats of industrial action from the National Association of Resident Doctors.

Recall that the President had on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 embarked on a medical trip to London for a routine medical check-up and returned two weeks later.

If the President had stayed in London for more than  three weeks during his March trip, it would have been mandatory for him  to hand over to the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, as demanded by the constitution.

At the time he was leaving in March, NARD  declared its intention to commence a strike on April 1 and carried out its threat as resident doctors refused to work for over two weeks.

On Thursday again, NARD issued a fresh four-week ultimatum to the federal and state governments to address its demands including the payment of hazard allowances.

The association in a communiqué issued at the end of the virtual emergency National Executive Council lamented the failure of the government to fulfil the conditions it laid down with led to the suspension of its strike in April.

NARD said it observed that salary arrears of January, February and March of its members particularly in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and University College Hospital, Ibadan had been paid but was deeply worried about the re-accumulation of unpaid salaries in coming months if these members are not captured in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System

The association also lamented the extortion of money from its members by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital under the guise of minimum wage while also stating that nothing had been done by the Federal Government to the implementation of national minimum wage and non payment of salaries since the suspension of the last strike.

NARD alleged that its members in Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Imo State University Teaching Hospital, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital and Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital were owed salaries ranging from 18 to one month.

“The NEC unanimously resolved that the total and indefinite strike action embarked upon by our members on April 1, 2021 should remain suspended and the Federal Government and State Governments be given four weeks to resolve the pending issues as stated otherwise risk the resumption of the strike.

It said except for Delta, Bayelsa, Enugu, Ogun and Oyo states, all the other states have yet to implement the new minimum wage for its members.

Meanwhile, there was no indication on Thursday that the President would be handing over power to  Osinbajo.

Tribunepoint Weekly reports that when the President travelled for several months between 2016 and 2018, he transmitted power to his deputy.

However, in the last two years, Buhari has not done so for unexplained reasons.

In 2019, Activist, Inibehe Effiong, sued the President for travelling to the UK on vacation without transmitting a letter to the National Assembly empowering Osinbajo to take over in line with Section 145 of the constitution.

However, Justice A.O Faji ruled that Buhari was not under a duty to handover to Osinbajo unless he was absent for a period exceeding 21 days. The Presidency had also issued statements defending Buhari’s decision not to transmit power to Osinbajo.

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