The leadership of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has faulted the ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC) directing its members to return to work.
A communique jointly signed by NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, and the union’s Secretary-General, Dr Jerry Isogun, on Friday revealed that the doctors have begun the process to appeal the ruling.
“As we are all aware, especially those that were present in court today (Friday), the NIC has given a ruling on the application for interlocutory injunction filed by the Federal Government,” the statement said. “We are not satisfied with the ruling.
“After consultations with our lawyers, we have instructed our lawyers to appeal the ruling and file an application for stay of execution.”
The statement is in reaction to the ruling of Justice Bashar Alkali who ordered the resident doctors to suspend their ongoing industrial action and return to work immediately, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Justice Alkali who ruled on an application by the government had also directed parties in the matter to return to the negotiating table, saying no amount of money could compensate for the loss of lives as a result of the impasse.
Fair hearing denied?
In demonstration of its displeasure with the decision of the court, NARD instructed its lawyers to file necessary processes, rather than ask members to return to their duty posts.
It also asked the doctors to remain calm and resolute, saying “everything depends on our firm resolve.”
“We are committed to protecting your rights within the confines of the law. We believe justice shall be ours ultimately,” the union told its members.
It stated that the court had reserved ruling on which application it would take first on Wednesday, and its lawyers argued that the court ought to hear and determine the Notice of Preliminary Objection (NPO) filed by the doctors to challenge the jurisdiction of the court before taking the application for an interlocutory injunction or any other application.
The union added that the court adjourned ruling on the argument on the matter until Friday, after which it ruled that it would take the government’s application for interlocutory injunction first while its NPO would be taken and determined along with the substantive suit.
“Also, our lawyers drew the attention of the court to our application for 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.
“On 15/9/21, the court ordered all parties to resume negotiations. The government refused to resume negotiations in line with the order of 23/8/21. Our lawyers reported this development to the court. We have demonstrated good faith and would continue to do so,” the statement said.
NARD accused the court of denial of a fair hearing by refusing to hear and determine its NPO before taking the government’s application for interlocutory injunction.