Court rejects FG request to stop resident doctors’ strike

A National Industrial Court, sitting in Abuja, has again rejected an application by the Federal Government to order striking members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, to resume work.

The judge, John Targema, however, ordered the two parties involved in the industrial dispute “to suspend all forms of hostilities and maintain status quo.”

Justice Targema’s rejection makes the second time the judge would be refusing to order the resident doctors to resume work.

Earlier, about four days ago, the judge had rejected a similar call by a civil society organisation, Rights for All International, to order the resident doctors to resume.

The ruling was based on an ex parte application jointly filed by the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Health.

The strike, which started on August 2, clocked exactly three weeks on Monday.

Justice Targema in the ruling said granting the group’s application would amount to violating the resident doctors’ right to fair hearing.

He said, “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 applicant and the defendant suspend all forms of hostilities forthwith pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

The judge, after declining to grant the specific orders sought by the government, ordered that hearing notice be issued to the defendant, along with other processes which included the originating summons.

He ordered that the proof of service be kept in the case file before the next adjourned date.

Justice Targema then adjourned the matter till September 15 for hearing of the motion on notice “and/or any other pending application on its merit”.

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