The House of Representatives in Nigeria has passed a bill at the second reading stage that aims to prevent Nigerian-trained medical and dental practitioners from leaving the country without practising in Nigeria.
The bill also stipulates that Nigerian-trained medical practitioners must work for a minimum of five years in the country before gaining a full licence to leave.
The bill, entitled “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act”, was sponsored by Ganiyu Johnson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, and is part of the Nigerian government’s efforts to curb the brain drain of medical doctors leaving the country in search of better opportunities elsewhere.
Mr Johnson argued that it was only fair for medical practitioners to give back to society by working in Nigeria for a minimum number of years after receiving taxpayer subsidies for their training.
However, Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, a member of the opposition party, opposed the bill, calling it a form of enslavement to tie doctors down for five years in Nigeria after graduation before seeking employment overseas.
Despite this, the bill passed its second reading with a majority voice vote, with some members of the House calling for flexibility and options within the proposed law.