The Federal Government has expressed its opposition to a bill currently under consideration by the National Assembly, which aims to restrict the migration of Nigerian doctors to countries perceived to offer better opportunities. Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, made this statement during a press conference after an extraordinary Federal Executive Council meeting held in Abuja and presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Ngige argued that the bill is unworkable and goes against existing labor laws. The bill, sponsored by Ganiyu Johnson, a member of the House of Representatives from Lagos State, intends to address the mass exodus of medical practitioners from Nigeria. It proposes an amendment to the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, mandating Nigerian-trained medical and dental practitioners to practice in Nigeria for at least five years before being granted a full license by the Council.
In response to the government’s rejection of the bill, the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors has announced plans for a five-day warning strike, expressing their determination to resist any attempt to “enslave” Nigerian doctors. The resident doctors are also demanding a 200% increase in the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure, immediate implementation of CONMESS, domestication of the Medical Residency Training Act, review of hazard allowances by state governments and private tertiary health institutions involved in residency training, and other related demands.