National Industrial Court, Abuja, has ordered the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to suspend its ongoing strike.
Justice John Targema of the court gave the order yesterday, while ruling on an exparte application by the federal government.
He said, ‘’Having looked, especially, at the affidavit of extreme urgency, the grounds of the application, the affidavit in support of same and arguments of counsel for the applicant. I also weighed the submissions and arguments of counsel on the law as it stands on this application.
“It is hereby ordered that claimant/applicant and the defendant/respondent suspend all forms of hostilities forthwith pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
Justice Targema adjourned the substantive suit to September 15 and ruled that a hearing notice should be issued and served on the defendant.
Reacting to the report that the industrial court had ordered the striking doctors to resume work immediately, the president of the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, said the association was not aware and has not received any court order.
Uyilawa told LEADERSHIP that they did not go to court and that they were hearing it from the media that the court has ordered them to resume work immediately.
He said if they eventually get the order from the court, they would consult their lawyer for legal advice, after which they would be able to take a decision.
“ I am not even aware, we did not go to court, we don’t even know the content, we are only hearing it from the media and we can’t work based on what we hear from the media,” he said.
On his part, minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who first conciliated the issue between the NARD and their employers, the Federal Ministry of Health, described the court ruling as a welcome development.
According to a statement by the ministry’s deputy director, press, Charles Akpan, Ngige, reassured the affected doctors that the ruling will not prevent the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget Office of the Federation (BOF), Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHOCSF) and the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages and Commission (NSIWC) from the implementation of the agreements contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached at the last meeting with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and affiliate associations with timelines affixed to them.