Health

JAPA: Nurses ask Court to stop implementation of new NMCN guidelines

Eight nurses have dragged the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) and the Minister of Health to the National Industrial Court in Abuja over a circular, which prescribes new certificate verification guidelines for nurses.

 

The NMCN, on February 7, 2024, issued a circular revising the guidelines for requesting verification of certificates for nurses and midwives wishing to go abroad to seek better work opportunities.

 

The Council stated that applicants seeking verification of certificates from foreign nursing boards and councils must possess two years of post-qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practicing license.

 

This means they must work in the country for at least two years before seeking greener pastures abroad.

The new guidelines came into force on March 1, 2024.

 

Miffed by this, nurses in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of the country protested, demanding the reversal of the new guidelines.

 

Some of the nurses have taken a step further by filing a suit at the National Industry Court, Abuja.

 

Listed as defendants in the suits are the Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Nigeria, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Federal Ministry of Health and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

 

When the matter was called on Wednesday, counsel to the complaints, Mr. Ode Evans, told the court that he had just received the preliminary objection filed by the first and second defendants in court.

 

Evans prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him peruse the processes in order to give an appropriate response.

 

“I confirm the receipt of the application of the first and second defendants this morning, we shall be asking for a date to enable us to file our responses.”

 

Following no objection from the defendants, Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, adjourned the matter to May 20 for hearing.

 

The judge ordered that hearing notices be served on the Ministry of Health and the Attorney-General of the Federation who had no legal representation in court.

 

The complaints in the suit marked: NICN/ABJ/ 76/2024, are Desmond Aigbe, Kelvin Ossai, Catherine Olatunji-Kuyoro, Tamunoibi Berry, Osemwengie Osagie, Abiola Olaniyan, Idowu Olabode and Olumide Olurankinse.

 

They are urging the court to restrain the defendants or their agents from implementing the NMCN circular pending the determination of the suit.

 

The nurses are also praying the court to suspend the commencement of the new guidelines.

 

Some of the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are, “An interlocutory order suspending the commencement of the “Revised Guidelines for Verification of Certificates with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria” earlier proposed to take effect from March 7 as indicated on the NMCN ‘s circular pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

 

“An interlocutory order restraining the defendants, their partners, parastatals, subjects, counterparts. agents, servants, privies, assigns, or whoever, acting for with or on behalf of the defendants from taking any further step that may hinder, restrict, or infringe on the constitutional rights and freedom of nurses and midwives in Nigeria from emigrating to another country to seek better career opportunities and training abroad.

 

“An interlocutory order of the court mandating the Registrar and NMCN to continue to carry out verification of certificates or any documents requested by the applicants, other intending colleagues, and other members of the nursing and midwifery profession within seven days from the date of such application pending the hearing and determination of the suit.”

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