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We Leave Leprosy And Treat Scabs: Still On Doctors’ Proposed Bill -By Seun Ogun


The new map begins when the trail ends. To begin with, Nigeria is a good country blessed with sane laws, and with great individuals, however, some inhabitants are breachers of these laws in one way or the other. 

Interestingly, these Laws stipulate how both the government and the governed are to work hand in hand in piloting the affairs of the state.

In the previous administration in Nigeria, we can see how the government leave leprosy laws and treat the scabs and this has been the issue we have been recycling since the first republic.

To start with, it’s contempt of any government to neglect some laws which need urgent attention such as the penal code in the northern part of the country that gives strong power on the issue of blasphemy, laws of insurgency, terrorism, Maladministration and money laundering by public officers, human rights abuse and other appropriate law that can give birth to the enjoyment of the life of citizens than their counterparts. 

Recently, the Five years mandatory service bill brought up by the legislature making around the internet calls for rapt and thorough attention yet, another attainable achievement and good progress made by the ruling class.

The bill is in its second reading stage and it agitates mandatory for fresh graduates in the medical and dental school to serve the country by driving the Heath sector for meritorious five years before being licensed to practice.

As I have rightly mentioned, this bill is a good one with good features that can further improve the standard of living conditions in our country. Before that, let us take a closer examination at the burning question “Why would fresh graduates mandatorily stay in Nigeria for 5 years after serving the country for a year?”

It’s a daylight truth that the reasons are not far-fetched. Firstly, to deal with the clogging in primary healthcare, and for healthcare delivery across all strata to eradicate inequality and inequities in the distribution of healthcare services to under-served populations.

While we see immigration as a decision anchored by the state of mind, these decisions are not made without consultation and a painstaking approach within the context of the state system. This helps make it clear that immigration is a product of and a response to the international and domestic economy. 

It’s a modern reality that the “industrialized nations” is equipped with increased economic growth and boost and what we see in our domesticated economy is political instability, insurgency, embezzlement of public funds, poor funding of education, and hunger, to mention a few, of which are top determinants causing massive emigration of professionals. It is worth noting that the problem wrestling with our economic development can be solved only if laws addressing these anomalies are properly reformed and implemented.

Moving forward, It’s saddening when the legislature, a group of nobles, and the most revered people in the country sit to open a new chapter concerning the restriction of young Nigerian medical graduates to serving the fatherland for 5 years after a meritorious service of almost 8 years in Nigeria educational system.

While I agree that this might have been sponsored by genuine humane beliefs, it’s a flagrant violation of the human right to curtail the immigration of experts as contained in our constitution. Natural talent drives to the shore where it gains more value and where the return is excellent. 

Since our independence, many skilled Nigerians have emigrated to different parts of the world in search of greener pastures. In the sense of justice and fair play, they leave to have a good, better, and promising life. What I mean by good life is the existence of favorable government policies to aid the achievement of dreams, job security, life security, and a high standard of living which helps in assuring a “Long life”. There is nothing bad for young doctors to emigrate to another part of the world provided the actualization and fulfillment of their dreams are being made.

As to the extent of the law, the only reason for denying the above is in the context of crime(s). The only justification which can make this bill an outright law is only if all provisions are met that is provision of adequate amenities, proper funding of the sector in question, and appreciation of human labor. 

The government which has failed in providing good and habitable public hospitals, constant electricity, a good road network, and payment of public servant salaries is here again to hold to ransom the emigration of young promising professionals searching for greener pastures. This bill is uncalled for if only we believe in the spirit of justice, fairness, and equality. 

The government had failed in providing good public hospitals across the country and that’s why their counterparts have dominated everywhere. 

Our hospital needs rehospitalization. Currently, we have little or no facilities in our public hospitals, especially in rural areas.

Come to think of it, what if after the stipulated 5 years almost all the young doctors leave Nigeria? There is a Yoruba proverb that says (Orì bìbè kò ní ògùn Orí fífó) which means “Apitation is not the antidote for headache”. We should not try to solve problems by creating more problems, rather, we should solve the main problems with clarity. 

I know why many people may disagree with the question “Who will medical service if young doctors“ leave? This question ought not to be directed to the professionals in question however, the government is the one accountable for the welfare of the people as enshrined in the “Section 14 subsection (2b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended that “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government”. 

When it comes to security, we have lost our tact and government welfare has decried long ago. If the welfare of the people is the primary purpose of the government, electricity shouldn’t be available on “special occasions” such as Religious days, Governor visits amongst others, “cheap” education should be perfect, and hospitals should be well equipped.

Another issue which needs urgent attention is that our medical doctors are less paid compared to their counterparts overseas. Imagine, an average fresh graduate Doctor earning 120,000 monthly while struggling to combine a series of side hustles with it to sustain themselves and their family whereas others earn multiple folds. 

Tell me, if you were in their shoes will you settle where your talents are less appreciated?

The government needs to put all hands on deck, work rigorously and make things work out well before we delve into making laws. “We can’t put something on nothing and expects it to stand. 

Both government and the legislature have no right to circumscribe the mobility of labor because natural talent drives to the shore where it gains more value and where the return is excellent. 

It’s surprising how the legislature sees this as an unwelcome development. The government that flies abroad on routine medical checks now wants to constrain the mobility of young Nigerian. Who says there’s the practice of rule of law, fairness, and justice in the Nigerian system? 

For this bill to be more effective and practicable, the government has to reinstitutionalize and heavily compensate our young Nigerian Doctors with attractive incentives, and a promising future. This said, if all these above-stated provisions are met, no law whatsoever should contravene the mobility of labour and the enjoyment of human rights.

To sum it up, while we wait for this, all members of the arms of government piloting the affairs of the state should lead by example by showing faith in the Nigeria Medical Service. This can only be done by shunning Medical checkups abroad and putting faith in the Nigerian healthcare system.

Conclusively, while I believe that the New government administration will work towards providing necessities and favorable economic policies, it shouldn’t in any way condone any form of restriction on the emigration of young Nigerian medical graduates.

God bless Nigeria.

Seun Ogun is an 100-level law student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun state. 


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