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HomeTop NewsIndustrial court orders Doctors to call off strike, return to duty post

Industrial court orders Doctors to call off strike, return to duty post

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The National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja has ordered that the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) should return to their duty post immeditately and call off their ongoing strike action.

In a ruling on Friday, the court held that there is no amount of money that will compensate for the loss of lives in the circumstances.

Justice Bashar Alkali while ruling on an interlocutory injunction brought against the striking doctors by the federal government held that their action at this time of increase of the COVID-19 pandemic was not in the interest of the country and Nigerians.

The order is coming barely few days after the striking workers and the federal appeared to have been working towards an amicable resolution of the issues surrounding the industrial action.

Lawyer to the federal government, Tochukwu Maduka had moved his motion for interlocutory injunction, and prayed the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendant from continuing with the industrial action pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

He also prayed the court to compel the members of NARD nationwide to return to their duty posts pending the determination of the substantive suit.

He argued that resident doctors as persons who provide essential services cannot embark on strike and continuing to do so will wreck hardship on citizens.

The resident doctor’s lawyer, Robinson Ariyo, opposed the application for interlocutory injunction and urged the court to discountenance their application.

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He argued that the life of a medical doctor is not less useful than the life an average human being.

He argued that justice must be balanced, not just to the government, but also to the doctors who are the field marshals in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The court, however, agreed with the federal government counsel that continuation of the strike would cost the country and accordingly ordered NARD to suspend the strike and call back its members to work.

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”.

The judge further expressed strong belief that “If the court does not intervene at this stage, there is no amount of money that can compensate the lives of Nigerians who would lose their lives if the members of the defendants continue with their strike.”

While he observed that parties ought to have suspended all hostilities since the matter was brought to court, he said he found merit in the application of the federal government and accordingly resolved the lone issue for determination in her favour.

“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”, Justice Alkali held.

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