8 Nigerian Nurses Sue FG Over Compulsary 2-Year Practice Requirement Before Moving Abroad

A group of Nigerian Registered nurses has dragged the Federal Government and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), to the National Industrial in a suit seeking the immediate revocation of the new guideline for verification of Nigerian nurses by foreign nursing boards.

In the suite marked, NICN/ABJ/ 76/2024, nurses Desmond Aigbe, Kelvin Ossai, Catherine Olatunji-Kuyoro, Tamunoibi Berry, Osemwengie Osagie, Abiola Olaniyan, Idowu Olabode and Olumide Olurankinse are praying the court to stop the implementation the new verification protocol that came into force on March 1, 2024.

The NMCN on February 7, 2024 issued a circular revising the guideline requesting verification of certificates for nurses and midwives wishing to travel abroad to work.

A major significant change in the new guideline is a clause that applicants seeking verification of certificates from foreign nursing boards and councils must possess a minimum of two years of post-qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practicing license.

The new guideline means that every nurse trained in Nigeria and wishes to go work abroad must practice in Nigeria for two years before such a nurse can be eligible for the verification by a foreign board.

Among those listed as defendants in the suit include, the Registrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council Nigeria (NMCN), the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Federal Ministry of Health and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

Parts of the prayers of the nurses as captured in their suit reads:

“An interlocutory order suspending the commencement of the “Revised Guidelines for Verification of Certificates with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria” earlier proposed to take effect from March 7 as indicated on the NMCN ‘s circular pending the hearing and determination of the 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 another country to seek better career opportunities and training abroad.

“An interlocutory order of the court mandating the Registrar and NMCN to continue to carry out verification of certificates or any documents requested by the applicants, other intending colleagues, and other members of the nursing and midwifery profession within seven days from the date of such application pending the hearing and determination of the suit.


However, when the matter came up in court on Wednesday, the counsel to the nurses, Ode Evans requested for more time to enable him respond to an objection raised my the NMCN and its Registrar, the first and second defendants.

“I confirm the receipt of the application of the first and second defendants this morning, we shall be asking for a date to enable us to file our responses,” Ode told journalists.\

Consequently, due to the no objection from the defendants, the presiding judge, Honourable Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae, adjourned the matter to May 20, 2024 for hearing.

The judge also ordered that hearing notices be served on the Ministry of Health and the AGF who had no legal representation in the court on Wednesday.

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