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Court orders Resident Doctors to call off strike

National Industrial Court (NIC), sitting in Abuja, yesterday granted an order of interim injunction directing the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to immediately cease its industrial action and return to work. Justice Ibrahim Galadima ordered them back to duties pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

Hearing of the motion on notice had been fixed for October 8, 2020. Justice Galadima made the order following an ex parte application filed by Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights and Association of Women in Trade and Agriculture through their counsel, Frank Tietie. Defendants in the motion are the NARD, Minister of Health, Minister of Labour and Productivity and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice. Moving the ex parte application, the plaintiff ’s lawyer, Tietie, urged the court to direct the resident doctors as providers of essential services key to the fundamental right to life of members of the groups and all Nigerians, to immediately cease their strike action and resume duties.

Tietie added that if allowed to continue, the strike action by the doctors would cause irreparable damage to the ongoing negotiation between NARD and the Federal Government. He added that the strike would render the pending substantive suit challenging the right of the doctors to embark on industrial action an academic exercise. Ruling on the application, Justice Galadima upheld Tietie’s arguments and ordered NARD members to immediately end the strike action. Justice Galadima ordered them to immediately resume their duties pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice already fixed for October 8 by another judge of the court, Justice Edith Agbakoba handling the substantive suit.

A copy of the enrolled order issued by Justice Galadima on Wednesday read in part: “Order is hereby granted against the 1st respondent/defendant (NARD) being an essential service provider of health in the country, to immediately cease its strike/industrial action and to resume their duties forthwith until the hearing and determination of the pending motion on notice which had already been fixed on October 8, 2020 by the substantive judge in this suit, the Hon. Justice Agbakoba.”

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