Nigeria’s minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says the verbal attack on him for saying that medical doctors were free to leave Nigeria because the country had enough hands is unnecessary.
Concise News understands that the Minister made the remark on Wednesday during a programme on Channels Television.
Many Nigerians have since lambasted him over it.
But in a statement signed by Nwachukwu Obidiwe, his Special Assistant on Media, Ngige called for a deeper understanding of the issue in question.
“I speak from the vantage position of being a medical doctor and member, Nigerian Medical Association since June, 1979 and enriched by my vast knowledge on health administration,” the statement read.
“Having retired as a Deputy Director, Medical Services and Training from the Federal Ministry of Health in 1998, member of Vision 2010 Committee on Health as well as senior member, Senate Committee on Health 2011-2015.
“Therefore, the truth no matter how it hurts, must be told and reality, boldly faced. Hence, apart from Nigeria’s non-compliance with the World Health Organization’s ratio of one doctor to six hundred patients of which I was misquoted.
“Every other thing I said in that interview is an existential reality, useful and constructive facts which every Nigerian that watched the full interview will hardly dispute.
“I invite opinion moulders especially those who have spoken or written on this issue to watch the full clip of my interview with the channels.
“And it is for this reason that I admitted having a little cause to worry about brain drain among medical doctors.
“The fact is that while the Federal Government has recorded a remarkably steady improvement in our healthcare system, Nigeria is yet to get there.”
The minister added that Nigeria did not at present, have enough health facilities to accommodate all the doctors seeking to do tertiary specialist training (residency) in the teaching hospitals, federal medical centres and few accredited state and private specialist centres in the country.