Health Minister and Others Sued by Nurses Regarding New Certificate Verification Guidelines

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A group of nurses has taken legal action against the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN) and the Minister of Health, challenging the newly introduced certificate verification guidelines.

The NMCN issued a circular on February 7, 2024, revising the guidelines for certificate verification for nurses and midwives, requiring applicants seeking verification from foreign nursing boards to have two years of post-qualification experience.

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In response, nurses in Abuja and Lagos staged protests demanding the reversal of the new guidelines. Dissatisfied with the response, some nurses filed a lawsuit against the NMCN, the Minister of Health, and other relevant authorities before the National Industrial Court in Abuja.

The plaintiffs, including Desmond Aigbe, Kelvin Ossai, Catherine Olatunji-Kuyoro, and others, seek to restrain the defendants from implementing the circular pending the determination of the suit. They also request the suspension of the commencement of the new guidelines.

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The reliefs sought by the nurses include an order to continue certificate verification for applicants within seven days of application, and to prevent any actions that may hinder nurses’ rights to seek career opportunities abroad.

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At the court proceedings, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Ode Evans, requested an adjournment to respond to the preliminary objection filed by the defendants. Justice Osatohanmwen Obaseki-Osaghae granted the request and adjourned the matter until May 20 for further hearing, instructing that the Federal Ministry of Health and the Attorney General of the Federation be served with hearing notices.

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