The National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with the federal government in an effort to end the ongoing strike.
On August 1, NARD embarked on strike over “irregular payment of salaries”, among other issues.
Efforts of stakeholders, including the house of representatives, to mediate between the federal government and the resident doctors did not yield results.
The industrial court had restrained members of NARD from continuing with the action, after the federal government filed a suit against the association on August 23.
Specifically, the court said: “It is hereby ordered that claimant/applicant and the defendant/respondent suspend all forms of hostilities forthwith pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”
At the court session on Wednesday, Tochukwu Maduka, counsel representing the federal government, said he has filed a case of contempt against NARD.
“Despite the order of this court that all hostilities be suspended, the defendants who render essential services have refused to call off the strike,” he said.
Femi Falana, counsel to the doctors, told the court that he has filed a further affidavit in support of notice for stay of execution. He also opposed the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
However, Falana added that parties should go back to the negotiation table. He said going back to the negotiation table is in line with the order to suspend hostility. “We can resume today or even tomorrow if a decision is reached,” he said.
While Bashar Alkali, the judge, stood down the matter for ruling, parties in the case gathered to reach a consensus.
Speaking with journalists after the court session, Maduka said: “Counsel for the resident doctors approached us on behalf of his clients indicating that they want the matter to be settled and that they are prepared to go back to work.”
On his part, Falana said: “We had consultations on both sides with our clients and with the lawyers of the government and we have agreed to come back on Friday to report the efforts we have made.”
“There is an agreement that was not signed by our client. We’ve studied the agreement and we have advised our client that since there is a clause in it that nobody shall be penalised or sanctioned for participating in the industrial action. We believe that there should be no inhibition in signing the agreement trusting that there would be good faith on the path of the government so that we can put this matter behind us.”
The judge adjourned the matter till Friday for ruling.
He asked parties in the suit to try and resolve the issues before Friday. “Both parties should try and shift grounds so that the country can move forward,” the judge said.
He also restrained parties from making defamatory comments to the press and on social media.