A bill to prevent Nigeria-trained medical or dental practitioners from being granted full licences until they have worked for a minimum of five years in the country passed second reading at the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, the sponsor Mr Ganiyu Johnson, pointed out that it would address the increasing number of medical doctors leaving Nigeria for greener pastures, and making quality health services available to Nigeria.
The lawmaker noted that it is only fair for medical practitioners, who enjoyed taxpayer’s subsidies on their training, to give back to the society by working for a minimum number of years in Nigeria before exporting their skills abroad.
Contributing to the debate, a member from Bauchi state Abdullahi Sa’ad in supporting the Bill stated that the high rate of brain drain in Nigeria is truly alarming.
On the contrary, a member from Akwa Ibom state Nkem Abonta, said that what the bill seeks is detrimental to the free will of intended medical practitioners to choose where to practice.
The Speaker Mr Femi Gbajabiamila stated that section 45(1) of the constitution has a provision for setting aside fundamental rights for the sake of the greater good.
The Bill was voted on, passed, read the second time and referred to the House Committee on Healthcare Services.
Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu