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Nurses are suing the AGF and several others over the new guidelines for certificate verification.

AGF, Health Minister Taken To Court Over New Nursing Certificate Verification Guidelines

Several nurses in the country have sued the Coordinating Minister of Health, the current Attorney General of the Federation of Nigeria (AGF), the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) and the Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria over new guidelines for verifying certificates.

The NMCN had on February 7, 2024 issued a circular revising the guidelines for requesting verification of certificates for nurses and midwives.

The council stated that applicants seeking verification of certificates from foreign nursing boards and councils must possess two years post-qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practising licence.

The new guidelines came into effect on March 7, 2024.

The development prompted some nurses in Abuja and Lagos to embark on a protest to demand the reversal of the new guidelines.

However, some dissatisfied nurses, on behalf of their colleagues, sued the Registrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria; Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Federal Ministry of Health and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) sitting in Abuja.

The plaintiffs in the suit are Desmond Aigbe, Kelvin Ossai, Catherine Olatunji-Kuyoro, Tamunoibi Berry, Osemwengie Osagie, Abiola Olaniyan, Idowu Olabode and Olumide Olurankinse

They are urging the court to restrain the defendants or their agents from implementing the NMCN circular pending the determination of the suit.

The nurses also urged the court to suspend the commencement of the new guidelines.

They sought, “An interlocutory order restraining suspending the commencement of the 2nd Defendant” “REVISED GUIDELINES FOR VERIFICATION OF CERTIFICATE(S) WITH THE NURSING AND MIDWIFERY COUNCIL OF NIGERIA” earlier proposed to take effect from the 7th of March, 2024, as indicated on the 2nd Defendant’s circular dated 7th February, 2024 pending the hearing and determination of the Claimants/Applicants Originating Summons in this suit.

“An interlocutory order restraining the Defendants, their Partners, parastatals, subjects, counterparts. agents, servants, privies, assigns, or whoever, acting for with or on behalf of the Defendants from taking any further step that may hinder, restrict, or infringe on the constitutional rights and freedom of nurses and midwives in Nigeria from emigrating to the country to seek better career opportunities and training abroad.

“An interlocutory order of the court mandating the 1st & 2nd Defendants to continue to carry out verification of certificates or any documents requested by applicants, their other intending colleagues, and other members of the Nursing and Midwifery profession within 7 days from the date of such application pending the hearing and determination of the Claimants/Applicants Originating Summons.”

At the proceedings on Wednesday, counsel for the plaintiffs, Ode Evans, told the court that he had just received the preliminary objection filled by the first and second defendants some moments ago.

He pleaded with the court to adjourn the matter to enable him reply to their applications.

“I confirmed the receipt of the application from the first and second defendants this morning. We shall be asking for a date to enable us to file our responses,” he said.

Ruling on the natter, Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae adjourned the suit till May 20 for a hearing.

She ordered that the hearing notice be served on the Federal Ministry of Health and the Attorney General of the Federation, who had no legal representation in court.