Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, on Thursday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately dismiss the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire and his counterpart in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, over the mass exodus of doctors under the current regime.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, berated both ministers for poor management of human resources, especially in the health sector which is pivotal to the wellness of any nation.
The rights group blamed the Education Minister, Adamu Adamu for being responsible for having millions of Nigerian youths at home for over five months due to the lack of alleged managerial and conflict resolution acumen.
Recently the Health Minister, Ehanire said, “We have heard complaints of doctors who are now leaving the system but there are actually enough doctors in the system because we are producing up to 2,000 or 3,000 doctors every year in the country and the number leaving is less than 1,000.”
In 2019, Ngige, who is also a medical doctor, said he was not worried about doctors leaving the country, claiming Nigeria has more than enough doctors.
“We have a surplus. If you have a surplus, you export.”
According to the General Medical Council which licenses and maintains the official register of medical practitioners in the United Kingdom, the number of Nigeria-trained doctors in the UK currently stands at 9,976.
The figure does not include other doctors of Nigerian origin who did not undergo medical training in Nigeria which currently has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK after India and Pakistan.
The Nigerian Medical Association and the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors continue to lament that there are between 20,000 and 25,000 doctors in Nigeria. Going by Nigeria’s population of over 200 million people, that is by a ratio of one doctor to between 4,000 and 5,000 patients whilst the World Health Organisation recommends one doctor for 600 patients.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is shameful the statements credited to both ministers in media reports. Obviously, the health sector is in a comatose state with President Buhari spending about 300 days in the United Kingdom on medical vacation whilst doctors embark on strike every other day.
“Ngige and Ehanire are classical failures in this administration that have created spectacular social, economic and security concerns for Nigerians yet President Buhari can’t sack them as if to say there’s a secret oath sworn by those controlling central government to hear no evil see no evil but do all evil s and be protected.
“Overall, the President must better the standard of living of doctors which is the cardinal reason they are leaving the country. The President should demonstrate that he is not insensitive and irresponsible by sacking these non-performing ministers and picking competent Nigerians to handle these critical sectors, Onwubiko said.
HURIWA said the President has virtually lost an opportunity to bequeath a lasting legacy by failing to take charge of his government and relieve incompetent cabinet-level appointees of their positions for others who are qualified for such strategic portfolios to take over to salvage the badly battered education and health sectors.