From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The National Industrial Court on Monday ordered the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to suspend its ongoing strike.
Justice John Targema sitting in the Abuja division of the court issued the order after listening to an ex parte application by the Federal Government.
He ruled: ‘Upon reading the motion ex parte and affidavit in support sworn to by Ahmed Nasiru, male, muslim, adult and Nigerian citizen of the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, and after hearing D.Kaswe for the applicant, who moved in terms of the motion paper,.
‘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.’
A certified true copy of the interim order signed by the Registrar of the court, Diana Agbenu Eko, further reads: ‘This matter is accordingly adjourned to September 15, 2021, for hearing of the motion on notice and/or any other pending applications. Hearing notice and the originating processes be issued and served on the defendant/respondent. Proof of service of same be filed in the case file before the next adjoined date.’
In the substantive suit, the Federal Government is urging the court to ask the doctors to go back to work, failure of which it would enforce the ‘no work no pay’ policy.
When the matter first came before the court, the vacation judge, Justice John Targema, said that the claimant’s application would be taken.
He, however, directed that the defendant should appear on the next adjourned date to show cause why the “No Work, No Pay” rule should not be enforced against it.
The resident doctors under the umbrella of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) began the strike on August 2.
The strike was due to what NARD called the failure of the government to meet its demands after the government entered into a memorandum of action that led to it calling off its strike in 2020.
One of the demands was the withdrawal of the circular by the Head of Service removing House Officers from the scheme of service.
The Federal Government on its part, through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, instituted the suit against the defendant over abdication of its responsibilities.
Part of the declaration as sought by the Federal Government was whether or not the ‘no work, no pay’ rule should not be applied against defendant.
The suit also contained a prayer seeking an order of the court to direct the striking doctors to return to work.