President of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, has said the National Industrial Court (NIC) did not order his members to resume but to the status quo. He said this meant they should return to the spot they were before the matter was brought to the court and not to return to work.
In an interaction with LEADERSHIP yesterday, Okhuaihesuyi said, “We are not disobeying court order, the court did not ask us to return to work, is just the propaganda of Ngige. The court only asked us to stop hostility and maintain status quo.”
The Federal Ministry of Health had also issued a circular to CMDs and MDs of all federal tertiary hospitals to implement the no work, no pay policy on the striking doctors, a directive from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
NARD has however insisted it will not return to work until the government meets the demands of its members and reverse the “no work, no pay policy”.
The federal government, through the minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, during the recent meeting with NMA, on behalf of NARD, had promised to begin to implement the agreement from last week. However, LEADERSHIP learnt that none of the agreements have been implemented.
But some lawyers yesterday called on NARD to obey court order and suspend their ongoing strike.
In an interview with LEADERSHIP, Mr Abdul Balogun (SAN) agreed that the doctors are fighting for a better welfare package but said they should not worsen their case by disobeying a valid order of the court.
“You cannot disobey a valid order of court and still approach same court for justice. I agree that the doctors are fighting a just course but they should not destroy. their case. Their action is contemptuous and I’m sure the court with all frown at it,’’ he said.
An Abuja-based lawyer, Chibuike Dike, blamed the federal government for allowing the strike by the doctors to linger till this moment.
‘’A responsible government would have addressed the complaints of these doctors and put an end to the crisis once and for all’’, he said.
As a lawyer, while not speaking for the doctors, because the case is in court, I think the issues of the poor state of our health system should be looked into by the government.
Justice Targema adjourned the substantive suit to September 15 and ruled that a hearing notice should be issued and served on the defendant.