By Correspondent in Abuja.
The National Industrial Court has ordered resident doctors to suspend their strike action and return to work immediately, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The court also ordered all parties in the dispute to return to the negotiating table.
Justice Bashar Alkali,who gave the order on Friday in Abuja while ruling on an application by the Federal Government, held that there was no amount of money that would compensate for the loss of lives in the circumstances relating to the strike embarked upon the doctors concerned.
Earlier, the counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Tochukwu Maduka, in his motion for interlocutory injunction, prayed the court for an order restraining the defendants from continuing with the industrial action, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
He argued that the resident doctors were persons who provided essential services, adding that they could not embark on strike, pointing out that continuing to do so woukd wreak hardship on citizens.
Responding,the counsel to the resident doctors, Femi Aborishade, vehemently opposed the application for interlocutory injunction and urged the court to discountenance such application.
He argued that the life of a medical doctor was not less useful than the life of an average human being.
In quick response to the court order,the National Association of Resident Doctors(NARDS), has directed its lawyers to appeal the ruling ordering its members to return to work.
In a statement,jointly signed by NARD President, Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi,and the union’s Secretary-General,Dr Jerry Isogun, on Friday, the association disclosed that the doctors had begun the process of appealing 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. 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 two officials said.
The Reporters recalls that NARD members withdrew their services from the hospitals through out the country about two months ago to press home their demand for better salary and other sundry issues bordering on welfare among others.