Gbajabiamila ends accreditation rift between ABU, NMCN

Following the intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the full accreditation status of the School of Nursing Sciences of the College of Medical Sciences of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria has been restored. 

The speaker had mandated the House Committee on Health care Services, chaired by Hon. Dr Tanko Sununu to intervene and ensure the accreditation, which was withdrawn in May 2019 by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria is restored. 

At the stakeholders’ meeting on Monday at the House of Representatives, Hon. Sununu in his opening remarks said Speaker Gbajabiamila became worried over the withdrawal of the accreditation of the Nursing School as a result of the negative impact it has on the academic pursuit of the students, manpower and the provision of healthcare service to the Nigerian society. 

The controversy that began in 2015 eventually led to the withdrawal of the School’s full accreditation status granted to the Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSC) programme by the Council on May 27th, 2019 following the appointment of the School’s Head of Department, Prof. Hayat Gommaa, an Egyptian. 

According to the lawmaker, the Committee had reached out to students, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), the Vice-Chancellor and the Provost of the College of Medical Sciences of the Ahmadu Bello University as well as other stakeholders. 

In his presentation, NMCN’s Registrar/Secretary General, Faruk Abubakar said the withdrawal of the accreditation became necessary following the breach of the law that makes it mandatory that any person seeking to train nurses in Nigeria to be registered by the Council. 

The Council said despite its repeated observations, ABU and the Head of the Department of the Nursing School, Gommaa, who has been in the employ of the School for about eight years, failed to comply with the law as she refused to register with the Council. 

As such, the Council said it was left with no option than to withdraw the school’s accreditation, and stop Prof. Gommaa from practising nursing in Nigeria in compliance with the law. On his part, the Provost of the College of Medical Sciences, ABU, Prof Abdulahi Randawa said the withdrawal of the accreditation was regretted but that Gommaa, whose appointment was the subject of the controversy has resigned and Muhammad Ladan appointed as the new HOD. 

Sununu, who was supported by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Hon Babatunde Adejare and other members commended both parties for their maturity in handling the issue, which he said was what Speaker Gbajabiamila had hoped for. 

He said: “We are happy that this controversy that has generated so much interest in the social media has been resolved amicably. The withdrawal of the accreditation was as a result of a misunderstanding between the NMCN and the University. “It was this that got Mr Speaker worried and he mandated the House Committee on Health care Services to summon all major stakeholders involved in the dispute so that we can resolve the issues and allow the training of our undergraduates in the Nursing Sciences to continue unhindered. 

“I’m happy to say today that after extensive deliberation with an open mind, the meeting was able to resolve the following: -ABU, Zaria has communicated already that Prof. Hayat Gommaa has resigned her headship of the Department of Nursing Sciences, which is the major issue of contention.

The Council has also agreed that as soon as the report to that effect is submitted to it, will promptly act and restore the accreditation of the School. 

Prof. Gommaa has also been directed to continue to process the registration of her membership of the Council as prescribed by the Act establishing the Council. “It is our belief and prayers that the accreditation would be restored as soon as possible and training will continue in earnest. 

“Speaker Gbajabiamila also expressed hope that Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria will continue to maintain its position in providing the requisite manpower in our sector, not only to the northern part of Nigeria but to the country and Africa as a whole”. 

The Provost and the Registrar also expressed their happiness at the intervention of the Speaker, while assuring that the resolution of the meeting would be implemented.

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