Members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) yesterday did not turn up for work at various hospitals following a directive issued by the union's president, Dr Jibril Abdullahi calling for a nationwide industrial action.
Their absence was heavily felt at the National Hospital Abuja and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada.
Resident doctors practice with supervision of licensed doctors. They constitute the bulk of doctors who attend to patients. Their absence often grinds hospital activities to a halt.
There was normalcy in other general hospitals in Abuja run by the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
The doctors are protesting the non-payment of salaries and implementation of other agreements the federal government entered into with them.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu has said that the call for an indefinite strike by NARD was uncalled for especially as a committee headed by the head of civil service was already working to resolve most of the issues brought forward by the association.
In Yobe State, all the hospitals are under state government with the exception of the Federal Medical Centre Nguru.
Our correspondent report that the doctors were attending to patients in hospitals in Damaturu and other towns including Potiskum and Gashua.
A doctor at the Federal Medical Centre Nguru however told Daily Trust that they were only attending to patients with emergency cases to avoid deaths.
Also, from Kano State came a report that resident doctors in the federal health institutions complied with the directive of their national body to stay away from work.
Our correspondent who visited Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) reported that patients were seen trooping out of the hospital, while those in critical condition at the accident and emergency awards were left behind.
Musa Ibrahim of Kawo quarters who accompanied his aged father to the hospital expressed his disappointment over the strike.
"I think it is high time the federal government starts to take things serious, for God sake why it is that anytime government entered into any agreement with it workers will not honour it? This is the second in two months that we are being discharged impromptu because of the strike," Ibrahim said.
In Sokoto, the strike paralyzed activities at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto.
When Daily Trust visited the hospital, consultants who were attending to patients said they were only taking emergency cases.
"There has been reduced activities owing to the strike, we are not taking any new admission except emergencies," one of the consultants said.
The health minister Onyebuchi speaking through his special assistant on media Dan Nwomeh questioned why NARD should embark on strike when their members were also co-opted into the committee set up by the head of service.
He said the only new issue included in their notice of strike dated September, 30, 2013, is their demand for the removal of the chief medical director of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
The minister said there is no way the federal government could remove any appointee based on unverified allegations, adding that things have to follow due process.
However, the minister said that a meeting has been scheduled with all the parties concerned including the minister of labour, Emeka Wogu, today.
The doctors had complained of the refusal of the government to implement an agreement with the union on the Integrated Payroll Payment System (IPPS).
Consequently, it had warned that it would not rescind the decision on the strike until government met their demands.