The Medical Guild has a right to sue the Lagos State government even though it is not a registered trade union. That was the verdict read today by Justice Benedict Kanyip, a judge of the National Industrial Court, who presided over the case between the Lagos State government and the doctors under the auspices of the Medical Guild concerning the sack of over 700 doctors in the state employ. The judge fixed June 19 for an accelerated hearing between the doctors and the government.
The Lagos government had tried to derail the case of the Guild by arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter, since the Medical Guild was an “illegal entity.” However, the judge averred that it was too late in the day for the government to be shifting positions when it had already signed agreements with the Medical Guild in the past although it was not a registered trade union.
The judge also said that the doctors who sued on behalf of the Medical Guild are human beings and are therefore capable of bringing a case before a court.
The verdict of the judge was received with a rousing applause by the union members present in the courtroom. Justice Kanyip however warned against such show of applause in the future, describing it as “unethical”.