By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
The National Industrial Court, NIC, in Abuja, on Wednesday, issued an order of interim injunction, directing the National Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, to immediately call-off its strike/industrial action and resume duties forthwith.
The interim order followed a ruling that was delivered by the vacation judge of the court, Justice Ibrahim Galadima, on an exparte motion that was filed by two Civil Society Organisations, Citizens Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights and Association of Women in Trade & Agriculture.
Aside from NARD, other Defendants in the matter are the Minister of Health, Minister of Labour & Productivity and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The court ordered Resident Doctors to temporarily return to their duties, pending the hearing and determination of the suit which is already fixed for October 8.
The Applicants had through their lawyer, Mr Frank Tietie, urged the court to compel the Resident Doctors, being providers of essential services of health which is directly linked to the fundamental right to life, to immediately return to work, pending the determination of the substantive suit against their association and the other Defendants.
The Applicants maintained that unless the court intervened, citizens would suffer untold hardship and healthcare challenges.
Meanwhile, Justice Galadima, ordered services of all the relevant processes and hearing notice on all the Defendants to enable them to appear on the next adjourned date.
It will be recalled that NARD had on September 7, embarked on strike over unresolved issues that bordered on life insurance for doctors and other healthcare workers.
Among other things, the medical association sought for a review of the hazard allowance of healthcare workers and payment of their COVID-19 allowances.
They equally agitated over payment of death-in-service benefit to next of kin/beneficiaries, as well as for universal implementation of the medical Residency Training Act in all Federal and State hospitals.