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Brain drain: Reps seek compulsory 5-yr service by doctors before going abroad

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A bill to prevent Nigerian-trained medical or dental practitioners from being granted full licences until they have worked for a minimum of five years in the country has passed second reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill is part of the measures to halt the increasing number of medical doctors leaving Nigeria for other countries in search of ‘greener pastures.’

The title of the amendment bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson, reads, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act, Cap. M379, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to mandate any Nigeria-trained Medical or Dental Practitioner to Practise in Nigeria for a Minimum of Five (5) before being granted a full licence by the Council in order to make Quality health Services available to Nigeria; and for Related Matters (HB.2130).”

The second reading was taken on the floor of the House in Abuja on Thursday.

Johnson told the House that it was only fair for medical practitioners, who enjoyed taxpayer 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.

The majority of lawmakers supported the bill, though a number of them called for flexibility and options in the envisaged law.

One member, Rep. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, opposed the bill on the grounds that it was more like enslavement to tie a doctor down for five years in Nigeria, post-graduation, before seeking employment in a foreign country.

However, a majority voice vote passed the bill for second reading.

The plenary of the House was presided over by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila.

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