The Abuja division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria has ordered resident doctors in the country to suspend its nationwide strike.
Doctors in the West African country under the auspices of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had embarked on an indefinite strike on August 1 over what they termed irregular payment of salaries, among other issues.
Justice John Targema in a ruling on the ex parte application on Monday asked all parties in the suit to suspend all forms of hostilities and maintain the status quo pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
It was the second time the judge would be refusing to order the resident doctors to resume work, his Monday’s ruling coming about four days after rejecting a similar call by a civil society organisation, Rights for All International, last Thursday.
“Having looked especially on 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,” he said.
The judge also ordered that a hearing notice be issued and other processes served on the defendant, including the originating summons and same be kept in the case file before the next adjourned date.
The judge adjourned the matter to September 15 for a hearing of the motion on notice and/or any other pending application on its merit.
Attempts by Nigeria’s House of Representatives to resolve the impasse between the federal government and the resident doctors have proved futile.
The Nigerian government then moved to institute a suit against NARD in the court, demanding an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the doctors from continuing with the industrial action.
By Abel Ejikeme