healthcare in Nigeria

Court Orders Nigerian Resident Doctors to Suspend Strike; Strike Continues

The National Industrial Court has ordered the doctors on strike to call it off and return to work. The court also ordered the Federal Government and the striking doctors to resume negotiations. 

The order came as a result of an application which the Federal Government filed. The Government claimed that the doctors commenced the strike without proper notice. The FG sought an order of interlocutory injunction. The purpose of the order is to restrain the striking members from continuing the strike. restraining the striking members from continuing the strike. The Government also sought to justify the “no-work-no-pay” policy raised against the doctors. On August 23, the court ruled that both parties should “suspend all forms of hostilities.” The court asked the parties to enter negotiations while they awaited the outcome of the suit.

The hearing continued at the NIC on Friday. Following the hearing, Justice Bashar Alkali delivered a ruling. He ordered the striking members of NARD to suspend the strike and return to work. The judge explained that the ruling was based on the health crisis in Nigeria and the new wave of COVID-19. He emphasized on the necessity for good healthcare in Nigeria. He stated that as essential workers, doctors needed to get back to work to fight the health issues in Nigeria.

“It is my firm belief that if the court does not intervene at this stage, there is no amount of money that can compensate for the lives of Nigerians who would lose their lives if the members of the defendants continue with their strike” the judge explained that the application made by the Federal Government’s had met all the requirements which were necessary for an interlocutory injunction to be issued.”

The ruling was made following an application by the claimant. Tochukwu Maduka (SAN), the Federal Government’s lawyer, made the application. It overruled the objection to the application made by Femi Aborishade, NARD’s lawyer. The judge also ruled that the claimants could proceed with their motion on notice on the interlocutory injunction. 

“I grant all the prayers as contained in the face of the motion paper and effect, I hereby grant an order of interlocutory injunction that members of the defendant-respondent in all the states of the federation are hereby restrained from continuing with the industrial action embarked on since on the second day of August 2021 pending the determination of the substantive suit.

“Also, I hereby order all members of the defendants/respondents in all the states of the federation to suspend the said industrial action commenced on the second day of August 2021 with immediate effect and to resume work immediately pending the determination of the substantive suit,” the judge added. The judge concluded by asking the claimants to grant some of the requests by the defendants.

NARD responded to the ruling through a statement. The statement was signed by three members of NARD. The members were; Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi (President of NARD), Jerry Isogun (NARD Secretary), and Dotun Oshikoya (Publicity Secretary). The statement appealed the court’s ruling and would be ruling and filing for “stay of execution.” In the statement, NARD explained their grievances. On 15th September, NARD asked the court to hear their Notice of Preliminary Objection. They asked to be heard before the Application for Interlocutory injunction. 

NARD also stated that their lawyers called the attention of the court to their application for a stay of execution of the ex parte order. Yet, the court insisted that the Government’s Application would be taken first. NARD also mentioned that the Government had refused to resume negotiations. This was following the court’s order for all parties to resume negotiations. NARD reported this development to the court but the court still ruled in favor of the Government.

“By the refusal of the court to hear and determine our Notice of Preliminary Objection before taking the Government’s Application for Interlocutory injunction, we believe we have been denied fair hearing which is a fundamental right,” NARD stated. They urged their members to remain calm despite the ruling. NARD stated that until the NIC hears their appeal, the strike would continue. 

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