The National Industrial Court, Abuja, on Thursday struck out a suit filed by the Federal Government against the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).
Joined as a co-claimant in the suit is the Federal Ministry of health.
However, when the case was called, neither the claimants nor their lawyers were in court.
The defendant’s counsel, Bright Egualeona on his part informed the court he filed a notice of preliminary objection dated Aug. 25,2021 and filed Aug.31,2021.
He further stated that the preliminary objection was in response to the claimant’s originating process.
The counsel in addition urged the court to strike out the suit for lacking diligent prosecution on the part of the claimants.
The judge, Justice Benedict Kanyip after listening to the submission of the counsel said:”given the absence of the claimants for the second time, this suit is hereby struck out”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on the last adjourned date of Feb. 16, the matter could not proceed due to the absence of parties and their legal representatives in court.
The judge had therefore stated “the matter is slated for hearing and neither are parties nor their representatives are in court insspite of being served hearing notice.
” Given the importance of this matter, the court is giving the parties another opportunity”, the judge ruled.
NAN also report that the suit was instituted by the claimants by way of exparte motion and motion on notice on Aug.23,2021 seeking an interlocutory injunction compelling the striking doctors to suspend the strike it embarked on Aug. 2, 2021.
The federal government also sought for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining members of the respondent in all States of the Federation from further continuing with the strike embarked on Aug. 2, 2021.
NAN reports that the resident doctors had on Aug. 1, 2021 began the strike over irregular payment of salaries, among other issues.
Efforts by the House of Representatives to mediate between the federal government and NARD ended in a deadlock.
The federal government then instituted a suit against the association, asking the court for an order of interlocutory injunction restraining members of NARD from continuing with the action.
NAN reports that the court had in a ruling on Aug. 23, 2021 ordered all the parties to “suspend all forms of hostilities” pending determination of the suit by FG marked NICN/ABJ/197/2021.
The court, in another ruling last Wednesday, adjourned to enable the parties to pursue an out-of–court settlement. (NAN)