Legal Nigeria

Court declines NGO’s application to order striking doctors back to work


The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Thursday, declined an application by a Non-Governmental Organisation ( NGO), seeking an order to make striking medical doctors return to work.

The court rather directed the plaintiffs to place them on motion on notice and invite them to defend themselves.

The NGO, Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International, had through an ex-parte application prayed the court to order the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), who embarked on the industrial action on August 2, back to work.

The vacation judge, John Targema, after listening to the application in his ruling however said “I have carefully considered the processes filed by the Applicant herein.

“The affected parties ought to be put on notice before a trial court grants a restraining order, when a trial court makes an order of restraint ex parte, the order is made in breach of the provisions of section 33 (1) of the 1999 Constitution ( as amended).

“Having considered the arguments of learned counsel for the Applicant and the law as stated, I am inclined to invite the defendants/respondents on grounds of fair hearing”, he ruled.

The judge in addition ordered that the motion be made on notice to the parties affected by the application.

He also directed that hearing notice be issued, served on the defendants and proof of service of the motion on notice and all originating processes on the defendants be filed in the case file before the next adjourned date.

Mr Targema concluded by saying that the said date shall be determined by the president of the court who will reassign the file and both parties would be notified accordingly.

The Executive Director of the NGO, Kingdom Okere, had sought an order compelling and mandating the striking members of NARD to immediately suspend their ongoing strike, resume duties on ground that the strike now constituted national health emergency and amounts to denial of access to health care to Nigerians.

The NGO also sought for an order of court restraining the first and second defendants from continuing their ongoing nationwide industrial action on ground of public health and extreme health emergency as a result of the recent outbreak of cholera in some States of the Federation and COVID-19 pandemic which had resulted in deaths of some Nigerians.

Joined in the suit as co-defendants are Uyilawa Okhuaihesuya, chairman NARD, Incorporated Trustees of Nigerian Medical and Dental Association, Minister of Health.

Others are Federal Ministry of Health, Minister of Labour and Productivity and Attorney General of the Federation/ Minister of Justice


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