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It won’t work! Ngige rails against anti-brain drain bill for Nigerian doctors

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Saying that Nigerian doctors cannot travel overseas for greener pastures until after five years, because the country trained them for free is akin to the proverbial killing a fly with a sledgehammer, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, maintained on Monday.

Ngige, who had expressed the same position a fortnight ago in a television interview, again railed against the arguments being advanced by the promoters of a bill seeking to pass the law, which is currently sitting at the National Assembly, where it recently passed the second reading at the House of Representatives.

Ngige, told reporters after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Meeting in Abuja that the bill sponsored in April, by Ganiyu Johnson, a member of the House on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), would never enjoy his support, because as a medical doctor himself, he knew the premises on which it was based, were wrong.

Though he acknowledged that the lawmaker, from Lagos State, who sponsored it could not be faulted because the move could represent the feeling of his people, he said the bill seeking to amend the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act 2004, to address the brain drain in the health sector, might not be the best for the progress of the doctors.

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Coming against the backdrop of an announcement on Monday, by the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) that the members would commence a five-day warning strike on Wednesday, over the failure of the federal government to meet its demands, Ngige, said: “I am a medical doctor. When you graduate from the medical school, you go on one-year apprenticeship called housemanship or internship as the case may be. After your internship, you are now given a full licence because prior to that. What you have is a provisional licence of registration with the Nigerian Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN).

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“So, after that intensive training, you are signed off by consultants and you became a fully qualified medical doctor to attend to human beings and to work without any supervision again. Supervision then is voluntary.

“Resident Doctors are those who have that full licence and they want to acquire post-graduate speciality and speciality is known like surgeons, gynaecologists, obstetrics, paediatrics and internal medicine or family medicine. So, they are doctors in training. The bill in the National Assembly cannot stop anybody from getting a full licence. That bill is a private members’ bill.

“In the National Assembly, they attend to private members’ bills and executive bills. Executive bills emanate from the government into the national assembly with the stamp of the executive. It is either sent by the Attorney General of the Federation or by the President but usually from the Attorney General of the Federation. So, it’s not an executive bill, it’s a private members bill.

“That bill is moved by the man from Lagos. So, members of his constituency can tell him this is worrying us. Can’t we check these doctors this way by you going to speak than put up a document?

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“That document is as far as I am concerned, not workable. Ab initio, I don’t support it and I will never support it. Like I said before, it is like killing a fly with a sledgehammer.

“They should think of other ways if they are trying to check brain drain, there should be other ways. If a doctor has read on scholarship, you bond him, if a doctor has read on bursary, you can bond him. If a doctor is trained like we are doing now on little or nothing, which is like a scholarship again because N50,000 a session per medical student is nothing when their counterparts overseas pay seventy thousand pounds for a session. So, I don’t support that bill, but you can bond them if you want.”

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Tough economy: Trouble in APC, as staff plan strike

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A loud grumbling has enveloped the 40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse, Zone 2, Abuja, headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC), where staff across different departments are threatening to down tools in protest of poor welfare and biting economic hardship.

Daily Trust, is reporting that the staff are specifically asking the party’s top echelon to make provision for their housing and other allowances, stressing that the economic situation of the country had become quite unfavourable to them.

The paper quoted one of the staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the party’s executive members had left them to suffer, while taking home humongous amounts of money as salaries and allowances.

Though Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, National Chairman of the party, is said to have commenced payment of N35,000 provisional wage award to them in January 2024, they argued that the largesse would in June, and they would be back to square one and therefore, they needed more stable welfare packages.

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In a swift riposte, Felix Morka, spokesman of the party, was quoted as dismissing the agitation, saying: “Those matters I don’t really discuss them. As you can see, there are many important things to discuss; at the national level, in Edo State. We are battling with all that. So, any in-house matters are not my focus right now.”

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BREAKING: Davido ups the ante, doles out N300million to orphanages

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David Adeleke Nigerian music sensation, otherwise known as Davido is stamping his giant feet with which he has mesmerised his audience across the world in the arena of philanthropy, with an announcement of a fresh donation of a whopping N300million to some orphanages across the country.

The latest is an increase of N63million up from the N237million the popular singer, who disclosed the largesse in a statement on his social media accounts on Tuesday, dolled out last year as part of the gesture in what is now turning out a yearly programme since it started a few years ago.

The gesture is coming at a time Nigeria is under an intense weather of deprivation and poverty, with the prices of food and other commodities hitting the roof and citizens, unable to afford basic items mostly going to bed on empty stomachs as a result.

In recent weeks, demonstrations had erupted in many parts of the country, including Niger, Kano, Ogun and Oyo States, where residents trooped into the streets to demand an end to the parlous situation, which they blamed on the insensitive policies of the government of Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President.

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The singer, who first gave out N250m to 292 orphanages in October 2022, said the this year’s donation would be done through The David Adeleke Foundation (DAF), adding: “I and my foundation pledge the sum of 300 million Naira to orphanages around Nigeria … as my yearly contribution to the nation. Details of disbursement tomorrow.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu set to probe Buhari’s N23trillion Ways and Means debt

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At last, President Bola Tinubu, may be going through the N23trillion Ways and Means debt obtained by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, with a fine comb to determine what the funds, which is attributed to a major part of the current debt overhang in the country, went into.

The Nation, quoted Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy as revealing this much to participants at the ongoing Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI).

Besides, the Minister reportedly said the Federal Government would also present a bill to the National Assembly, soon to authorise the removal of “all taxes and levies that constitute nuisance from the country’s tax system, as a measure to wean itself from future Ways and Means indebtedness.

The government, Edun added, will vigorously pursue policies that will allow it harvest revenue in real time from Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and Corporate entities.

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It was also on the same day that the Minister explained that Tinubu’s administration inherited a surge in food and general commodity prices from the previous government, but emphasised the government’s commitment to reducing food prices and tackling the nation’s high inflation rate.

Outlining the measures government was taking in tackling the situation, he revealed that, the government had released 42,000 metric tons of grains, with an additional 60,000 metric tons scheduled for release soon.

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