The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Monday ordered striking members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the federal government to suspend all forms of hostilities and maintain the status quo.
In his ruling, the vacation judge, John Targema, gave the order pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
Mr Targema said that he granted the application after careful consideration of the processes filed by the applicants.
”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 the claimant/applicant and the defendant/respondent suspend all forms of hostilities forthwith pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice,” he said.
He further ordered that a hearing notice be issued, along with other processes which include the originating summons, be served on the respondent and proof of service to be kept in the case file before the next adjourned date.
Mr Targema adjourned the matter until September 15 for a hearing of the motion on notice and/or any other pending application on its merit.
The applicants, the Ministry of Health and the federal government through the Ministry of Labour, had approached the court through an ex-parte motion praying for some order of the court.
The applicants had sought an order of interlocutory injunction restraining members of the respondent in all states of the federation from further continuing with the industrial action embarked on August 2.
Another order sought by the applicants was for an order of interlocutory injunction compelling all members of the respondent in all states of the Federation to suspend the said industrial action it commenced on August 2.
NARD claimed that one of its reasons for the strike was due to the failure of the government to meet its demands after they entered a memorandum of action in 2014.
One of the demands was for the withdrawal of the circular by the Head of Service removing House Officers from the scheme of service.
The applicants, on their part in their affidavit in support of motion ex-parte, had stated that the subject matter before the court was of serious urgency given its nature which had to do with life and death.
In addition, the affidavit said that the strike action by the respondent which had been ongoing for more than two weeks was causing untold suffering on the citizenry.
The untold suffering according to the affidavit is “accounting for numerous deaths of persons who could not access the medical services provided by the respondent.”