The Nigerian government has threatened to sack doctors observing a nationwide strike, according to media reports on Wednesday.

This came days after the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) began their indefinite strike, demanding the government to make “alternative arrangements” for patient care.

“The resident doctors have told us that they are not returning to work very soon until certain conditions are met and they cannot keep extending the goal post any time they like,” the Sahara Reporters news agency quoted Minister of Labour and Employment Dr Chris Ngige as saying. 

“Those who report to work will be taken as those who are still in service and the [attendance] register will be closed at 12 noon and by then we will know who want to still be in service,” he warned.

Among the doctors’ complaints are inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for all healthcare workers, reversal of the disengagement of 26 resident doctors at Jos University Teaching Hospital and the payment of their salaries, according to media reports.

Previously, Federal Health Minister Osagie Ehanire urged all resident doctors not to go on a strike, but to use avenues of communication to discuss the issues they face.

He assured them that they will be provided with all the materials they need to work including PPE.

The West African country has confirmed 17,148 coronavirus cases, with 455 death and 5,623 recoveries, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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