The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has expressed opposition to a bill before the House of Representatives mandating medical and dental practitioners to undergo a minimum of five years of service in Nigeria to obtain a full licence.
The bill is sponsored by the lawmaker representing Oshodi-Isolo II Federal Constituency, Ganiyu Johnson.
“The bill in question, I don’t support it,” said Ngige, on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, May 1.
He however stated that the legislator in question was “right” to put forward a private member’s bill — a proposed law introduced into a legislature by a lawmaker who is not acting on behalf of the executive branch.
“It’s not an executive bill,” Ngige explained. “Even the speaker cannot stop that bill because the man is coming from a constituency.”
Ngige however added, “For me, that’s trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer.”
He argued that it is better for the Federal Ministry of Health to look to the medical school, at which level, dialogue could be initiated around fees payable.
“Those who cannot pay fees, you put them on bond,” he said.
Ngige who is also a trained doctor noted that as a scholarship recipient, he was “bonded” under the now-defunct East Central State Government.
“So, that is how they should go, not going to bring a bill that puts shackles and chains on the leg of anybody,” he said.