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Despite Court Order, Nigeria’s Resident Doctors Vow To Continue Strike

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The striking National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has vowed to defy Friday’s ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC) ordering its members to return to their duty posts.

The order, which came almost seven weeks after the doctors embarked on the industrial action, was based on an application filed by the Nigerian government.

The government has sought an order of interlocutory injunction restraining members of the striking NARD across the country from further continuing with the industrial action.

The government is also seeking to legitimise the no-work-no-pay policy against doctors.

However, the court, in a ruling on August 23, ordered the parties to suspend all forms of hostilities and maintain the status quo ante.

In continuation of the hearing on Friday, Justice Bashar Alkali of the NIC ruled in favour of the government and ordered the striking doctors to resume work.

Justice Alkali said he based his order on the prevailing health crisis in Nigeria and the need for the doctors to resume duties as essential workers, to curtail the wave of COVID-19.

He said the counsel to the Nigerian government, Tochukwu Maduka, was “able to show that unless this application is granted, so many Nigerians will lose their lives, most especially as the country is experiencing an upsurge in this third wave of COVID-19 with increasing fatality arising from the absence of the defendants from hospitals.”

“It is my firm belief that if the court does not intervene at this stage, there is no amount of money that can compensate for the lives of Nigerians who would lose their lives if the members of the defendants continue with their strike.

“I find the application meritorious and I resolve the lone issue for determination in favour of the claimant applicant,” the judge held.

“I grant all the prayers as contained in the face of the motion paper and in effect, I hereby grant an order of interlocutory injunction that members of the defendant respondent in all the states of the federation are hereby restrained from continuing with the industrial action embarked on since on the second day of August 2021 pending the determination of the substantive suit.

“Also, I hereby order all members of the defendants/respondents in all the states of the federation to suspend the said industrial action commenced on the second day of August 2021 with immediate effect and to resume work immediately pending the determination of the substantive suit,” the judge added.

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