Nigerian government, striking Doctors agree to negotiate

The Nigerian Government and the striking Medical Doctors may have agreed to return to negotiation table to sort out their differences, following position of the two parties in the ongoing suit at the Industrial Court.

Penpushing reports that, the move was exhibited on Wednesday at the closing of the National Industrial Court in Abuja, where the counsel to the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors(NARD) ,Femi Falan and the government lawyer, Tochukwu Maduka gave the indication.

The counsel to the Doctors who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in his closing remarks at the proceedings, urged the court to order the parties to return to the negotiation table, in line with the previous order as granted by the court ordering parties to cease all forms of hostilities

Penpushing further reports that, in similar vein, counsel to the government who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), while noting that the parties had been to an arbitration panel all to no avail, adding that despite court order that parties should cease hostilities, the defendant had refused to return to work, but, however said the government was open to negotiation.

The Judge of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, Justice Bashar Alkali  had earlier during the Wednesday hearing fixed Friday for further hearing in the  suit, and also directed both parties to return to negotiation table with a view to resolving the industrial crisis that started on August 2.

Penpushing also reports that, earlier the government counsel, had told the judge of pending contempt suit he initiated against the leadership of striking Doctors for allegedly violating the court’s previous order.

The lawyer of the Doctors in response posited that it could not be said that a contempt suit was pending against his client’s leadership when Form 87 that ought to them to appear to show cause why they should not be jailed for allegedly violating a court order had not been filed and served on them.

Penpushing reports that, the counsel explained that the Form 86, which is a notice of disobedience of court, filed by the Nigerian government ought to have been followed with Form 87,arguing that the order his client was accused of violating was that parties should end hostilities.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria informed the court that, this implied that the order was directed at both parties and not against his client only, stressing that  he had filed and served an application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, noting that the application should take precedent over any other one.

Penpushing further reports that, Falana insisted that the Nigerian government did not challenge by filing a counter-affidavit and a written address against his client’s application challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

The counsel to the Nigerian Government in his own submission insisted that the contempt proceedings initiated on September 14 would take precedent over any other application, adding that he had not been served with the Doctors’ application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, a claim the court corrected by pointing to the proof of service of September 1 in the court’s file.

Penpushing also reports that, Maduka, therefore urged the court to give him time to respond to the defendant’s preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

Meanwhile, the judge will take the report of the anticipated negotiation which both parties agreed to embark on at Wednesday’s proceedings on Friday, and therefore adjourned till Friday for report of the negotiation.

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