The National Industrial Court (NIC) has ordered the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to suspend its ongoing nationwide strike, according to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
According to a statement by the ministry’s spokesperson, Charles Akpan, the Abuja division of the court presided by Justice John Targema gave the order on Monday.
The development comes after an ex-parte motion filed on Friday last week by the Federal Ministry of Health, seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining members of NARD from further continuing the industrial action pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The health ministry stated that the strike which began on August 2 was contrary to Section 41 of the Trade Dispute Act.
The motion brought under Suit No: NICN/ABJ/197/2021 has the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Government as first and second claimants/applicants and NARD as the only defendant/respondent.
“The court held that the continued downing of tools by the striking doctors have inflicted a lot of damage on the health system and the sick, especially in this perilous time of COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
“Targema further ordered that the claimant/applicant and the defendant/respondent suspend all forms of hostilities forthwith pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“The judge adjourned the matter to September 15, 2021 for the hearing of the motion on notice and any other pending application.”
In his reaction, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, described the court ruling as a welcome development.
He however added that it would not affect the implementation of the agreements contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached at the last meeting of government and the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and affiliate associations with timelines affixed to them.