The Lagos State government had earlier challenged the jurisdiction of the court over the case

Sacked Lagos doctors have scored one over the state government, after the National Industrial Court sitting in Ikoyi on Thursday ruled to hear the suit against their employers.
The State Government had earlier challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.
Ade Ipaye, counsel to the state government, prayed the court to strike put the suit against the defendant.
However, the presiding judge, Benedict Kanyip, ruled against Ipaye’s notice of preliminary objection.
Kanyip, in his ruling, said, “the matter shall accordingly proceed to trial.”
Ipaye had argued that the suit filed by two principal officers of the Medical Guild, the doctors’ body, should not be entertained by the court as the body “is not a registered trade union.”
He also questioned whether a letter of agreement purportedly signed by the State Head of Service, Adesegun Ogunlewe, to address the doctors demands, could be said to qualify as terms of settlement.
However, Kanyip said that the suit would be given a chance to go to trial where enquiries into all the claims will be made.
“I will recognise the claimants as capable of suing,” he said.
“It is late in the day for the respondent (state government) to call to question the status of the claimant (Medical Guild) when it had already signed an agreement with it in 2009.”
Right to sue and be sued
The presiding judge added that even if the status of the Medical Guild is in question, its principal officers who filed the suit for themselves and on behalf of the body, have rights to do so.
“The action is sustainable. The action was filed by the two claimants. Take away the Medical Guild, what you have is two individuals who are human beings. Whether they will succeed remains the question,” he continued.
Following the ruling, pro-doctor supporters at the court started chanting anti-government songs.
Olumuyiwa Odusote, the chairman of the Medical Guild, described the ruling as a “victory for rule of law and all Nigerians.”
Odusote, however, added that the trial does not stop the two parties from resolving their dispute out of court.
“But if we have an agreement with the state government, we will bring it to court for endorsement to prevent them from reneging on an agreement again,” he continued.
Abiodun Aremu, the secretary of Joint Action Front (JAF), a coalition of civil society groups, condemned the state government for attempting to prevent the case from getting to trial.
“It was irresponsible of the state government to deny the people who have been working with them for years,” he said.
The case was adjourned to June 19, 2012, when trial will begin.

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