The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has said the refusal of striking resident doctors to return to work is contemptuous.
The court had directed the doctors to suspend their 46-day-old strike and resume work but they have refused to return to work.
Ngige said their employer – the Federal Ministry of Health and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, would handle them.
The Minister of Labour and Employment however said he plans to re-invite them for a fresh meeting.
Ngige, who stated this when he appeared on Channels Television’s programme: Politics Today, monitored by our correspondent on Sunday, was reacting to the position of resident doctors who have vowed not to return to work despite the court’s order.
NARD had, on Friday through his first Vice President on Communication and Communique, Dr Julian Ojibo, after a judgment of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, maintained that it would ensure it stopped the implementation of the ruling compelling the association to suspend its strike.
”We are saying that we will continue our strike because we have filed for a stay of execution and we have appealed the case because we believe in the mandate of our leaders,” he had said.
But reacting to the resident doctors’ insistence, Ngige stressed that their refusal has a great implication legally.
He said: ”Saying ‘we would not suspend the strike’, that is contemptuous.
“It is contempt of the court decision. The person saying ‘we believe in the government of Oyilehwa, President of NARD’, that ‘we will not back down’ and so on are all contempt.
”But I’m not interested in that, it is the minister of health and the Attorney-General that can be looking at those ones.
“My take is to invite them back, then show them the degree of implementation of the MoU they signed in my office.
”Although they refused to sign, their parent body, NMA signed.
“Other consultant associations signed, Medical and other specialists also signed.”