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BAYELSA: Nurses Protest Over Revised Guidelines For Verification Of Certificates

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by Oyagiri Chime-emele

Bayelsa State based Nurses under the auspices of Nursing Reform Initiative, NRI, have rejected the revised guidelines for verification of certificates with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, NMCN.

Speaking to journalists, Thursday, February 15, during a peaceful protest, the Secretary, National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, Aganyi Simon Ofor, said the protest would continue except the NMCN revert to the status quo and repeal the vexing circular with reference N&MCN/SG/RO/MH/14/VOL1/40 dated 7th February, 2024.

Other issues that the protesting nurses needed were; Enhanced working conditions, representation in decision making, streamlined and fee free verification exercise process, adherence to legal and policy frameworks and restoration of previous norms.

In a memo addressed to the Secretary General and Registrar of NMCN, Dr. Faruk Umar Abubakar, signed by Bright Tuebi and Alabo Emmanuel, State Co-ordinator and Co Co-ordinator respectively, of Nursing Reform Initiative, NRI, titled: “Re: Revised Guidelines For Verification Of Certificate(s) With The Nursing And Midwifery Council of Nigeria. A Letter of Protest and Outright Rejection of The Said Revised Guidelines”, described the content of the memo as an infringement on Human Rights and mobility liberties, Excessive encumbrance on nurses, prolonged verification procedure and discordance with national migration strategies, amongst others.

Mrs. Onojeme Lucy, Bayelsa NMCN Rep, Comrade Sonia Andabai, NANNM Bayelsa chairperson (extreme right), others

They warned of dire consequences if the memo is allowed as a nursing and midwifery policy.

The group listed deprofessionalisation of nursing and midwifery, jeopardizing better job and academic opportunities for nurses, creating room for quacks and quackery, amongst other critical issues.

While receiving the letter from the protesting nurses and midwives, the state representative of the NMCN, Mrs. Onojeme Lucy thanked them for their peaceful and matured disposition in relating their grievances.

She assured them of prompt delivery of their protest letter, and hinted them of efforts from other quarters to carry on the complaints about the new policy.

Onojeme appealed to the nurses to peacefully disperse, in order not to be infiltrated by hoodlums that would spoil their good fight.

In her reaction, the state chairperson of NANNM, Comrade Sonia Andabai, described the situation as saddening, clarifying that the protest is not really a state related matter.

She added that though the state has not treated its nurses and midwives well, and bemoaned the situation her people are facing while performing hazardous duties without being adequately compensated.

The Comrade revealed that nurses and midwives are the only professionals that do not have a national implemented salary structure, urging that government at all levels to do the needful before it becomes late.

A nurse that craved for anonymity said the protest is carried out in the states of the federation, added that more protest would be witnessed from the nursing profession this year, especially within Bayelsa State.

She echoed that the days of behind the door complaints is over, that the nurses and midwives are ready to take their destinies in their hands.

The refusal by the protesting nurses and midwives to respond to their professional anthem when raised by the Rep of NMCN, was hallmark of the protest, to buttress their anger.

The protest which commenced from the popular Ekeki Park caused much traffic jam and terminated at the Ministry of Health block in the state secretariat, Yenagoa.


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