Court orders resident doctors to suspend strike

The National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, to suspend its ongoing strike.

The doctors had commenced the strike on August 1 over “irregular payment of salaries”, among other issues.

But the Federal Government alongside the Federal Ministry of Health insisted that resident doctors embarked on the strike action, without proper notice as provided by the extant Strike laws.

It argued that members of NARD, being of “essential services providers”, were prohibited by law from embarking on strike.

“The continued and sustained industrial action by the Defendant/Respondent is contrary to public policy and equally endangers the lives of the citizenry,” it added.

Though FG earlier threatened to invoke the no-work-no-pay policy against the Resident Doctors following their refusal to return to their duty posts over alleged irregular payment of their salaries, however, the court, in a ruling on August 23, ordered all the parties to “suspend all forms of hostilities”, pending determination of the suit

This the Federal Government filed a suit before the court to challenge the legality of the strike action

At the resumed proceedings in the matter on Friday, Justice Bashir Alkali, ordered NARD to suspend the strike action “with immediate effect”, after he heard all the parties in the matter.

Ruling on the application, Bashar Alkali, the judge, said the applicants were “able to show that unless this application is granted, so many Nigerians will lose their lives, most especially as the country is experiencing an upsurge in this third wave of COVID-19 with increasing fatality arising from the absence of the defendants from hospitals”.

“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 also stated that parties ought to have suspended all hostilities since the matter was brought to court.

“I find the application meritorious and I resolve the lone issue for determination in favour of the claimant applicant,” the judge held.

“I grant all the prayers as contained in the face of the motion paper and in 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.”

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