The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has reprimanded Human Rights Lawyer and Acting Chairman of the Civil Society Coalition, Alliance For Surviving Covid-19 And Beyond, ASCAB, Femi Falana, for advising members of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, NARD, to continue their strike, despite the ruling of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, suspending the action.
A statement signed by an aide of the minister, Emmanuel Nzomiwu said, Falana’s advise to the striking NARD members to ignore the National Industrial Court Order for all parties to suspend all hostilities forthwith, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice with the matter, which has been adjourned to September 15, 2021, for hearing, is unfortunate.
The Minister chided Falana in the statement for offering a very strange interpretation of the court order, in which he didn’t represent any of the parties when the case was first mentioned on August 16, 2021, and wondered what he stood to gain, by using his position to misadvise young doctors in specialist training, to continue to ignore or disobey an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
Ngige said that in industrial dispute parlance, a strike by an employee is a major form of “hostility” against the employer, in this case, the Federal Ministry of Health, or the Federal Government, as well as the sick, in the various hospitals across the nation.
Ngige observed that Falana is not familiar with what the Federal Government has bent backwards to do for the resident doctors to enhance the quality of their training, starting from putting them on a golden scheme of service, CONMESS, within the period of training, as a pensionable career, and the enactment of the Medical Residency Training Act, MRTA 2017, including a special Medical Residency Training Fund, MRTF, put in place by this government to enhance the quality of specialist training.
(Editor: Ifeanyi Mark)