The doctors strike comes as Nigerians are already struggling with more than 22 percent inflation, a tripling of petrol prices and the impact of a sharp devaluation of the national currency, the naira. AFP
The strike began as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's government comes under pressure over his economic reforms that have won praise from investors, but have also sharply hiked fuel prices and the cost of living for Nigerians.
The strike by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) came after a two-week notice on the failure of government to meet the demands of the association.
In a statement at the end of an emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association on Tuesday, the NARD decided to go on an immediate strike.
"Having considered all the numerous ultimatums, appeals, and engagements with government, NEC unanimously resolved to proceed on a total and indefinite strike commencing from 12:00 am on Wednesday," it said.
The association said that the strike would affect all government-owned hospitals throughout Africa's most populous nation.
It said the work stoppage would be called off only when its demands were met, including payment of salary arrears, hazard allowance, employment and replacement of doctors who have left the country to work overseas.
NARD is also asking for an improvement of facilities in state-run hospitals across the country.
Wednesday's strike is the latest by the association in recent months. Previous strikes on similar issues were suspended after the intervention by prominent Nigerians, including leaders from parliament.
The NARD represents resident doctors at government-owned hospitals in Nigeria, who account for about one-third of doctors operating in the country.
The doctors strike comes as Nigerians are already struggling with more than 22 percent inflation, a tripling of petrol prices and the impact of a sharp devaluation of the national currency, the naira.
In power for two months, President Tinubu has ended a fuel subsidy that kept petrol prices artificially low and also floated the naira in a bid to boost foreign investment.
Economists see those policies as positive in the long term, although the reforms have hit Nigerians hard with a surge in food, fuel and transport costs.