Nurses protest against new verification guidelines in Lagos, Abuja

NURSES, under the umbrella of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), on Monday, February 12, protested in Abuja and Lagos against the Midwifery Council’s new verification certification guidelines.

The Abuja protest, which took place at the headquarters of NMCN’s office, was against the new verification guidelines released by the Nigeria and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.

In a video shared on social media, the nurses and midwives were seen chanting and carrying placards, with some placard inscriptions frowning against the new development.

Several of the nurses, mainly women, voiced discontent regarding what they perceived as an effort to impede their freedom in pursuing career opportunities. 

They also urged the council to prioritise nurses’ welfare, salary scale, staffing shortages, and other rights.

Some of the inscriptions on the placard read, “No to new verification law”, “Nurses are not slaves”, “Justice for nurses”, and “Eradicate quackery,” among others.

In another flex displayed by the aggrieved caregivers, the association demanded the following:

  • The verification portal should be reopened instantly without conditions.
  • Verification should not take more than 48 hours.
  • Verification must be free of charge.
  • Nurses do not need to get an authorization letter from any superior colleague or CMD before verification can be done.

Similarly, in Lagos, the nurses and midwives, dressed in different scrubs, chanted protest songs against the verification guidelines, taking to the streets of the nation’s commercial capital to express their displeasure.

The reaction was at the heel of the NMCN circular revising the guidelines for verification of certificates for nurses and midwives on February 7.

The circular, signed by the Registrar of the Council, Faruk Abubakar, read in part, “A non-refundable fee per application shall be paid for verification to foreign boards of nursing as specified on the portal. This shall cover the cost of courier services to the applicant’s institution(s) of training, place of work, and foreign board.

“Eligible applicants must have a minimum of two years post qualification experience from the date of issuance of the permanent practising licence. Any application with a provisional licence shall be rejected outright.

“The council shall request a letter of good standing from the chief executive officer of the applicant’s place(s) of work and the last nursing training institution attended and responses on these shall be addressed directly to the Registrar/CEO, NMCN. Please note that the council shall not accept such letter(s) through the applicant.”

The council also specified that applicants must possess active practising licenses valid for at least six months prior to the expiration date, and the verification application process would require a minimum of six months for processing.

    It added that the implementation of the guidelines would take effect from March 1, 2024.

    Meanwhile, this was as some Nigerians have also taken to social media to protest against the guidelines, noting that the development was oppressive and slavery.

    A social media user, with the handle Nurse Bassey, wrote: “We endured so much during training, no holidays, a crashed five years programme that leaves you with no room to do any other thing. And on top of all these, we still have to endure humiliation and condescension while working. Nurses deserve better!”

    Another user, @DeraVictory, also wrote: “The memo/circular from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria is so saddening. It paints a picture of an organisation that does not care about  the welfare of Nigerian Nurses. Why do you have to process verification of license for a minimum of six months?”

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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