By Saheed Ibrahim
More condemnation continue to trail the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which seeks to make it compulsory for graduates in medical and dental fields to render services within Nigeria for five years before being granted a full license.
The sponsor of the motion in the House of Reps, Ganiyu Johnson (APC/Lagos), said the move was to check the mass exodus of medical professionals from the country
Few days ago, the Nigerian Medical Students Association, NIMSA, condemned the bill as unpatriotic, ill-timed, and a breach of the fundamental human right of doctors as enshrined in the amended 1999 constitution and a strangulation of the medical profession.
Nigerians have also taken to various social media platforms to rain verbal missiles on the Reps, saying the bill is obnoxious.
Recall in 2019, the Reps rejected a bill prohibiting public office holders from seeking medical care abroad, arguing that it breached the right of the public officials.
According to human right activist, Agwah Michael, “The bill is unfair and dictatorial. Rather than create bills that would cater for an improved working environment and welfare of the medical professionals, the legislators are more concerned with bills that impede on the “right of movement” of these citizens, as instituted by Section 41, Sub-section 1 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
A Political Analyst, Daniel Eze advocated that the Reps should also pass a bill criminalizing medical tourism by public office holders.
Speaking with The Hope, a political and social analyst, Bayo Adepoju said Reps focused on creating more problems than solving the existing ones.
“If the country treats the medical practitioners well and it is safe for them to ply their trades, they won’t seek greener pastures elsewhere.
“They aren’t the only professionals leaving, the Japa Syndrome cuts across every sector. That is what we should fix as a country and not witch-hunting one profession,” he said.