I will advise him to go to work and sign the attendance register.
On the five demands of the doctors, the labour minister explained that the regime lacks the powers to compel the states to domesticate the Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF).
According to him, the federal and state governments could legislate since health is on the residual list.
Regarding the immediate payment of the MRTF to their members, Mr Ngige said it was appropriated in the 2023 budget but has not been released, as the 2022 budget is still running.
Mr Ngige denied the claim by the resident doctors that the regime did not pay them minimum wage consequential adjustment arrears and added that the adjustment benefited all workers in the education and health sectors and even the defence agencies.
The minister noted that the doctors could not declare a nationwide strike because some states owe their members and that the federal government cannot also dabble into the issue.
Mr Ngige also revealed that the federal government, as the executive arm of government, could not intervene in the bill at the National Assembly to bond doctors for five years, as it is a private members bill.
He advised the doctors to refrain from discussing a 200 per cent pay rise, as it was not feasible.
Besides all the government has done for doctors and other workers in the health sector, such as upward review of hazard allowances, the Nigeria Medical Association was already negotiating with the federal ministry of health, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and the Presidential Committee on Salaries on a pay rise for doctors, the minister explained.
Mr Ngige added, It is incongruous for student doctors to embark on strike when consultants training them were already negotiating with the federal government.
President Muhammadu Buharis regime says it will employ ad hoc doctors to work if the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) members go on strike.
Specifically, labour minister Chris Ngige said the regime would use the salaries of the striking physicians to pay the ad hoc doctors.
Mr Ngigge revealed that the health minister would instruct the teaching hospitals to employ doctors for those five days, and they will use the money of the people who went on strike to pay the ad hoc doctors.
That is the ILO principles at decent work, especially for those rendering essential services.
Lives should be protected, added Mr Ngige. One of my sons is a resident doctor.