A MEMBER of the House of Representatives, Johnson Ganiyu, who sponsored a bill seeking to withhold full licensing of doctors and dentists to restrict emigration, said on Friday, April 14, that he would be presenting a similar bill on nurses and pharmacists.
Ganiyu disclosed this during an interview on the Channels Television programme, Hard Copy.
“There is another bill coming up on nurses and another one for the pharmacists. It’s a similar thing: put a peg. I’m going to read that very soon. This is just the first phase and it is a short term measure. I’m not saying this is a permanent solution.
“It is a stop gap, short-term measure for us to take stock of what we have; whether it is going to solve the problem is a different thing. By the time we are able to mitigate against this using this approach, I know with time it is going to be a win-win for the doctors and the country as a whole,” he said.
Ganiyu’s bill seeks to amend the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) Act to prevent Nigeria-trained medical and dental practitioners from being granted full licences until they have worked for, at least, five years in the country.
The bill passed second reading at the House of Representatives on April 6.
The legislator said the alert by the World Health Organization (WHO), which led to the United Kingdom placing Nigeria on a red list, was an indication that the bill was a step in the right direction.
Speaking on unresolved issues within the health sector, Ganiyu said he had moved a motion which called for the upgrade of health centres in Nigeria and better welfare packages for doctors.
However, motions are only proposals for discussion that may end up as advisories, while a bill is a draft of a proposed law.
The MDCN bill has attracted a lot of criticisms, and many Nigerians described it as discriminatory and a form of enslavement.
Ganiyu, however, regarded the criticisms as “personal opinions”, adding that his bill was not targeted at doctors, but was rather borne out of his passion for the healthcare sector and service to Nigerians.
Doctors in Nigeria and abroad have described the bill as ill-researched, but Ganiyu said he consulted with friends before drafting the bill. He also said he arrived at the conclusion that there was a decline in doctors practising within the country through a personal survey.
“I discussed with some of my doctors friends in the house and I read some literature. That’s all. I conducted a kind of survey on my own. I noticed there is a heavy decline; there is a capital flight of doctors from Nigeria, outside the shores of Nigeria. So should we fold our arms?” he asked.