Authorities in Nigeria's capital have sacked hundreds of health workers for ignoring a government warning to end a weeks-long strike, government officials said Friday.
Around 800 of the city's 900 nurses, 130 doctors and an unspecified number of other health workers were affected by the order, said Amina Zakary, Abuja's secretary for health and human services.
"The striking health workers have been sacked," she said. "So much has been done to get them back to work, but they didn't listen."
Abuja's health workers began their second strike this year on Oct. 18 over wage demands and arrears in benefits payments. They were dismissed Nov. 14, but there were hopes Nigeria's legislature could persuade the authorities to reconsider.
"The strike is still on," said Jerry Oguzie, President of the National Association of Resident Doctors, adding that "it might assume a national proportion" if their demands were not met next week.
Hospitals were emptied of most of their staff by the strike and almost all departments stopped work. Zakary said emergency services have kept running, but Oguzie said many have died because they were unable to get treatment due to the strike, AP reported. V.A.