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Strike: Resident doctors ignore court orders, head for appeal

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THE National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) has said it will appeal Friday’s ruling by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NIC) directing its members to end nearly two-month-old strike.

In a statement signed by its leaders, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, Jerry Isogun and Dotun Oshikoya, President, Secretary-General, and Publicity and Social Secretary respectively, NARD said it was not satisfied with the court’s ruling.

“After consultations with our lawyers, we have instructed our lawyers to appeal the ruling and file an application for stay of execution,” the association said.

The NARD accused the court of bias, saying it considered only the Federal Government’s applications for hearing.

It was the second time the court had directed the doctors to suspend the strike.

The NARD had ignored an earlier directive by the court on August 23. 

It vowed to continue to down tools until the government met its demands.

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The group had, on August 2, resumed the strike it suspended on April 11.

The strike clocked 47 days on Friday.

Rejecting the latest order, the association said its lawyers had argued in the court on September 15 that the court ought to hear and determine its (NARD’s) notice of preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction before taking the government’s application for an interlocutory injunction or any other application.

The group said the court reserved its ruling on September 15 over which application it would take first between its own and the government.

“The court adjourned ruling on the argument on that issue to today. Today, the court ruled that it would take the government’s application for interlocutory injunction first, and our NPO (notice of preliminary objection) would be taken and determined along with the substantive suit.

“Also, our lawyers drew the court’s attention to our application for a stay of execution of the ex parte order and that the court should take that application first. The court insisted that the government application would be taken first.”

The NARD also explained that the court ordered all parties to resume negotiations in its ruling on September 15, but the government declined.

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It said its lawyers reported the refusal to the court.

“We have demonstrated good faith and would continue to do so. By the refusal of the court to hear and determine our notice of preliminary objection before taking the government’s application for interlocutory injunction, we believe we have been denied a fair hearing which is a fundamental right.

“In the circumstances, we have instructed our lawyers to file necessary processes,” NARD stated.

It called on its members to remain calm while vowing to pursue justice through the confines of the law.

Giving its ruling on the suspension of the strike on Friday, Justice Bashar Alkali directed both NARD and the Nigerian Government to return to negotiating table.

 

The court said the disagreement between the parties should not lead to the loss of lives in health facilities.

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