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Certificate Verification: Nigerian Nurses Drag Midwifery Council, Registrar To Court


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Nigerian Nurses have dragged the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, NMCN, to court over its recent circular announcing a revised guidelines for verication of Nurses Certificates before they could migrate to foreign nursing boards or councils.

Our Correspondent writes that The controversial circular, issued on 7th, February 2004, by the Registrar/Secretary General of NMCN, Dr. Faruk Umar Abubakar, who is joined in the suit as 2nd Defendant, has been generating mixed reactions  in the medical space.

The cirular qually stated that every Nurse must pay the sum of 300,000 (three hundred thousand naira)  before he or her  licence would be verified by the Council.

Also, the said Circular, provides that, “Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two (2) years post qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practising licence. Any application with a provisional licence shall be rejected outrightly.

It also said “The Council shall request a letter of Good Standing from the Chief Executive Officer of the applicant’s place(s) of work and the last nursing training institution attended, and responses on these shall be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria. Please note that the Council shall not accept such letter(s) through the applicant.”?

Irked by the development,  nurses, under the umbrella of Incorporated Trustees of University Graduates of Nursing Science Association,(UNONSA) have approached a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu, South- East Nigeria  seeking a judicial interpretation of the NMCN’s register’s action.

The suit, with No FHC/E/CS/22/2024, was filed by the counsel to the aggrieved  plaintiffs, Barr Chijioke Ezeh.

The Nurses are seeking “a declaration that by the widest construction of the Nursing and Midwifery Registration Act ‘CAP N 143 L.F.N 2004) and other relevant extant applicable Laws, the 2nd defendant have no right whatsoever to issue or sign any circular and (or) directives in the exclusion and negation of the Board of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Board of which was ipso facto dissolved by the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria on 19th June, 2023.

They are equally seking “A declaration that by the widest construction of the Nursing and Midwifery Registration Act ‘CAP N 143 L.F.N 2004). Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and other relevant extant applicable Laws, ALL DIRECTIVES as contained in the purported circular of Guidelines dated 7th February, 2024 as issued and signed by the 2nd defendant are unlawful, draconian, uncharitable, inconsiderate and unkind consequent upon which they are declared null, void and of no effect.

“An order compelling the 2nd defendant to open up and keep opened the portal of 1 defendant, rescind and cancel forthwith ALL such DIRECTIVES as contained in the purported circular of Guidelines dated 7th February, 2024 same being unlawful, null, void and of no effect.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd defendant from further signing or issuance of any other directives, instructions or circular in contradiction of the general intendments of Nursing and Midwifery Registration Act ‘CAP N 143 L.F.N 2004), Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and other relevant extant applicable Laws binding the operations of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.”

The pkantiffs,  are consequently praying the court “to grant a general and aggravated damages of five million Naira (N5,000,000.00) only for strictures and discomfitures.”

However, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the matter which has been raising alot of dust since the pronouncement by Dr. Faruk.

Counsel to the plantiffs, Barr. Ezeh, while speaking to newsmen Sunday in Enugu described the act by the Registrar as pure impunity which must not be allowed to stand.

He explained that his clients approached the court over alleged acts of “impunity and arbitrariness perpetrated by Faruk, “wherein, acting under the auspices of his office, he has been issuing circulars that are repugnant to the tenets of his office and repugnant to the extant law that established the NMCN.

According to him, “We are saying that allowing that is making nurses in Nigeria to be subservient to the doctors, because those who are employers of nurses are mostly medical doctors.

“It is subservient for another profession to issue a letter of good standing; can’t the Nursing and Midwifery Council issue a letter of good standing for their own, why do it in such a manner that another profession will issue such letter?

“Barr.  Ezeh noted that “in one of the circulars, Farouk also said that no nurse will leave the shores of Nigeria without complying with certain prescribed rules; we are saying no, that the constitution is the grundnorm; the circular is an infringement on the right to freedom of association as guaranteed by the constitution.”

Recalled that following the circular, some nurses recently staged a peaceful protest in Abuja, the Nigeria’s capital,  saying no to the revised guidelines.


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