23rd August, 2021
By Joan Nwagwu
Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige , on Monday described the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) ruling on the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors ( NARD) strike as a welcome development.
In a ruling on Monday, the court ordered striking members of NARD and the Federal Government to suspend all forms of hostilities and maintain status quo.
Justice John Targema, the vacation judge in his ruling, gave the order pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice.
Justice Targema said that he granted the application after careful consideration of the processes filed by the applicants.
Ngige reassured the doctors that the ruling will not prevent the Ministries of Health, Finance, Budget Office of the Federation (BOF) from the implementation of the agreements contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The MOU was reached at the last meeting with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and affiliate associations with timelines affixed to them.
The NMA led three doctors associations to the negotiation on Aug. 20.
Justice Targema in the ruling ordered that the NARD and the government to suspend all forms of hostilities forthwith pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
He further ordered that hearing notice be issued, along with other processes which included the originating summons be served on the respondent and proof of service to be kept in the case file before the next adjourned date.
Targema in addition adjourned the matter until Sept. 15 for hearing of the motion on notice and/ or any other pending application on its merit.
The applicants, Ministry of Health, and the Federal Government through the Ministry of Labour had approached the court through an ex-parte motion praying for some order of the court.
The applicants had sought for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining members of the respondent in all States of the Federation from further continuing with the industrial action embarked on Aug. 2.
Another order as sought by the applicants was for an order of interlocutory injunction compelling all members of the respondent in all States of the Federation to suspend the NARD strike which began on Aug. 2.
NARD claimed that one of its reason for the strike was due to the failure of the government to meet its demands after they entered a memorandum of action in 2014
One of the demands was for the withdrawal of the circular by the Head of Service removing House Officers from the scheme of service.