"The laws have always been there but nobody is really enforcing it. If the federal government is saying they want to ban doctors from running private hospitals now, there is nothing new about it. 

"The only problem I have is that I perceive an ulterior motive on the path of the government". 

Dr Adeyinka Owolabi, the President, Association of Resident Doctors, LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, said this while speaking to Bounce News.

Owolabi, who faulted the move said the ban carries the potential of leaving public health institutions in turmoil because most doctors operating in the public sector are poorly remunerated and are forced to work in harsh conditions.

He added that the ban could trigger a mass exodus of quality brains from public health institutions established to cater to the needs of the poor in the society to the private sector where the remuneration is higher and regular.

He said the implication of the ban is that the populace will still be at the receiving end as only a few can afford private hospitals if the doctors in public hospitals are forced to move.

Owolabi, said the resident doctors received the information with an ounce of dismay because the government appears to have lost focus on what is really important. 

Dr Adebayo Ibikunle of Usman Dan Fodio University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, also disagreed with the ban.

Adebayo, who spoke with Bounce News said” Why doctors alone? So other health workers can continue private practice. They all can own hospitals, clinics and laboratories but doctors are forbidden”.

“The federal government is joking. We don’t think they are serious with the ban slammed on doctors in public sector from engaging in private practice.

“Compare the welfare package of doctors in the public sector in some other countries with what we have in Nigeria. You will find out that we receive peanuts from government here.

“If government pays its doctors very well, there will be no need for them to engage in private practice of any kind. Even if they do, it will be just to help humanity.

Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, had last week Wednesday disclosed the federal government has started taking steps to stop doctors in public service from engaging in private practice.

Adewole said a technical committee had been set up to look at the Yayale Ahmed report on the health sector.

The government has been having a running battle with health workers, the last being the strike action by the National Association Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU).

Is this a case of the federal government putting the cart before the horse?

The public hospitals are almost in a state of comatose and the government is more concerned about private practice by doctors who are poorly remunerated.