Court insists on proceeding with sacked Lagos doctors’ suit

Court insists on proceeding with sacked Lagos doctors’ suit

The National Industrial Court on Thursday declared that it would proceed with a suit filed by 788 doctors challenging their dismissal by the Lagos State Government.
The court said this while ruling in an application filed by the state government challenging its jurisdiction to hear the suit filed by the Medical Guild against the state government.
The guild had filed a suit in the NIC, over alleged breach of agreement by the state government and the issuance of queries to doctors for embarking on a warning strike.
Justice Benedict Kanyip said the matter was about an industrial dispute and that it was immaterial whether it was filed by an unregistered group, as claimed by the state government.
He said it was no longer tenable for the state government to describe the guild as an unregistered trade union, since it had always had dealings with the group.
He said the two doctors, Olumuyiwa Odusote and Idris Durojaiye, who filed the suit on behalf of the guild, had the locus standi to do so.
The judge said since the matter had to do with “natural persons,” there was no need for the state government’s application.
“The jurisdiction of this court lies in the National Industrial Court Act and Section 245(c) of the 1999 Constitution that allows it to adjudicate on labour matters related to wages, strike or dispute between employers and employees,” he said.
The judge said he would proceed with the suit and dismissed the state government’s objection without cost.
The judge adjourned the case till June 19, for trial.
The doctors had gone on strike on April 24, asking the government to implement an agreement it reached with them in April 2011.
On May 7, the state government sacked 788 doctors for what it termed “illegal absence from duty and failure to reply to the queries it issued to them.”
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, the Lagos State Health Service Commission and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Management Board are joined as co-defendants in the suit.