Doctor Sues NMA Over Indiscriminate Charges, Asks Court To Declare Membership Voluntary 

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A Nigerian Physician and Consultant, Dr. Adeyelu Olusola, has filed a lawsuit against the Nigerian Medical Association  ( NMA ) and Nigerian Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (NMDCN) before a Federal High Court Abuja over the imposition of charges and fees on medical practitioners in Nigeria.

In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1094/2020 filed on his behalf by his lawyer, Tope Temokun before Justice Donatus Okorowo, had sued NMA and NMDCN  as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively.

He is also seeking an order of the court declaring the NMA as voluntary and that he has the right to resign his membership from the association and still practice his profession as a medical doctor.

The matter which was scheduled for  Wednesday could not hold when  the presiding judge, Justice Okorowo announced the adjournment of all other cases in the cause list after he came back from a short break and that he would not be able to preside over them.

Olusola had on April 24, 2019, resigned his membership from the NMA following the outrageous charges and fees the association imposed on him and other members end collected through NMDCN which serves as a regulatory body.

In an affidavit in support of the suit, Adeyelu said he did not at any point in time in the course of his practice of the profession indicated an interest in becoming a member of NMA.

The suit read  “Upon my induction into the medical profession in 2005 and the taking of the Hippocratic Oath, I met it as the practice that although the 2nd defendant is a voluntary association, it has been operating in a manner that portrays it as a mandatory association for the medical practitioners in Nigeria.

“It is commonplace that every medical practitioner should be conscripted through the payment of annual practicing fee to the 1st defendant, which money is legislated to be subject to sharing formula of 30 to 70 percent between the 1st defendant and the 2nd defendant,.

He, therefore, sought the court’s determination on the following questions: “What is the true meaning, the true purport and the true intendment of the provision of Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)

“Whether based on the facts and circumstances of this case, the provisions of Section 14(4) of the Medical and Dental Practitioners Act Cap M8, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004, by practical application and/or implication, do not rob the plaintiff of his right to freedom of association.

”Such freedom is inconsistent with Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and to the extent of such inconsistency therefore, unconstitutional, null and void?

Adeyelu, therefore, sought “an order of perpetual injunction restraining the 2nd defendant henceforth from further imposing on the plaintiff its membership and/or its membership obligations and/or its subscription and/or its building levies or other levies, either directly or through the 1st defendant.

“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant from further subjecting the plaintiff to the 2nd defendant’s membership and/or mandatory payment of the 2nd defendant’s association subscription and/or the 2nd defendant’s building levies or other levies before recognising or according to the plaintiff his rights and privileges as a medical practitioner in Nigeria,” he said.

Other reliefs sought include; order of perpetual injunction restraining the 1st defendant from further remitting to the 2nd defendant 70% of the plaintiff’s mandatory annual practicing fees having ceased to be a member of the 2nd defendant.

“An order of mandatory injunction directing and/or mandating the 1st defendant to henceforth, within one month of the payment of the plaintiff’s annual practicing fees, remit 70 per cent  of the plaintiff’s mandatory annual practising fees to the plaintiff having ceased to be a member of the 2nd defendant.”

Justice Okorowo, therefore, adjourned the matter to November 10  2021 for hearing.

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