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Reps ask nursing council to halt implementation of new certificate verification guidelines

Reps ask nursing council to halt implementation of new certificate verification guidelines
February 27
15:55 2024

The house of representatives has asked the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) to suspend the implementation of the new guidelines on certificate verification.

The green chamber said the guidelines must be suspended pending the investigation by the committees on health institutions and legislative compliance.

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution on Tuesday, following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Patrick Umoh, a lawmaker from Akwa Ibom state.

BACKGROUND

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Early this month, the council, in a revised guideline, announced that applicants seeking the verification of certificates to foreign nursing boards and councils, must possess two years post-qualification experience.

The council also said applicants are required to pay a non-refundable fee per application to foreign boards of nursing, as specified on the council’s portal.

Faruk Abubakar, registrar of NMCN, had said the new guidelines on certificate verification were due to complaints about nurses not following due process, and are not peculiar to Nigeria. 

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The new guidelines triggered outrage on social media, with many nurses and health workers describing them as a violation of their rights.

THE MOTION

While moving the motion, Umoh said verification of certificates “is to confirm and authenticate an already existing certificate” issued by the council.

He added that “the requirement for two years post-qualification experience before verification of certificate is unreasonable, arbitrary and unfair”.

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He said the new guidelines may “restrict the freedom of nurses seeking education or additional skills, and training in foreign universities”.

According to the lawmaker, the national assembly is constitutionally empowered to make laws for the country, and the requirement of two years post-qualification experience by the council “is to legislate through the back door, and therefore a usurpation of the powers” of parliament.

The legislator said the NMCN requirement that applicants for verification must obtain a letter of good standing from the chief executive officer (CEO) of the applicant’s place of work, is “capable of creating forced labour and modern day slavery, as applicants “will be forced to be subjected to the whims and caprices of applicant’s employer”.

The motion was unanimously voted for when it was put to a voice vote by Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house.

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