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OPINION: Withdrawal of NANNM membership threat as a result of 3% COD - Adelami O.E. Chairman, NANNM, Osun State Council
Date Posted: 26/Nov/2020
1. The issue of NANNM check-off dues is a constitutional matter, and no unit/branch has the prerogative power to either increase or decrease the check-off dues. 
 
2. NANNM is the only registered trade Union cum professional association for the Nigerian Nurses. Hence, membership is automatic . As entrenched in the NANNM constitution, each member is to pay 3% of the basic salary as check-off dues, which is what is being deducted from our members.
 
3. The claims that other professionals such as medical laboratory scientists, physiotherapists, pharmacists pay N1,000 as their Check-Off Dues bereft facts and evidences. 
 
It is no gainsaying that Pharmacists subscribe to NAHAP an average of N4,500 monthly, while medical laboratory scientists subscribe to AMLSN an average of N 4,000, in addition to that, they equally subscribe to NUHAP another 1% (N1,000 minimum).
 
4. For the ultimatum given by some aggrieved nurses, it takes a process (constitution review) and not by fiat to amend any part of a constitution, even that of the federal republic of Nigeria.
 
5. Withdrawal of membership to float a new and or join any other health organization/ association:
(a). NANNM is the only registered and recognized trade union cum professional association for all practicing nurses in Nigeria, with automatic membership, just like Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), AMLSN, ARD. As long as one is determined to remain in the noble profession, he is a member and ought to comply with the directive of the association. 
 
Although, members can withdraw their membership only if  they do not feel like practicing in the profession anymore.
 
(b). Of course, members are at liberty to form any association to protect their interests as guaranteed under the provision of the constitution 1979 and is an entrenched right. However, such an association of persons, though recognized by the constitution does not ipso facto vest in the association the attributes of incorporation, which alone confers legal personality. 
Thus, compulsory membership of a professional association cannot debar persons from exercising their fundamental rights of assembly and association.
 
On the above nagging issues, below are some useful legal pronouncements to assist in curbing the trebding withdrawal threat:
 
i. High premium is hereby placed on the court of appeal case of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) versus Kehinde (2017) 11 NWLR (PT 1576)225 in challenging the automatic membership of NBA, a professional association, just like NANNM. In the leading judgment of the court, her ladyship NIMPAR, JCA, had held that: “the Nigerian Bar Association was established for the purpose of regulating the affairs and conduct of all legal practitioners in Nigeria and upon being called to the Nigeria Bar, there is automatic membership to the NBA on a lawyer”. See Chinwo v. Owhonada (2008) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1074)341.
 
ii. Furthermore, on the implications of subscription to membership of association, the court of appeal also held in Chinwo v. Owhonada (2008) 3 NWLR (Pt. 1074)341, at 361 as follows.
 
“The appellant (just as your clients) was not compelled to take up the profession of law and its attendant compulsory membership. However, once he made the choice to study and practice law and thereby placing his name on the roll of honor belonging to the profession, he stands bound by the internal rules and regulations of the association. There would therefore be no issue of a breach of the constitution of the country if the rules demand of him UNDIVIDED LOYALTY.
 
While it is important to engage in serious discuss with the aggrieved members, emphasis must be placed on   being a member before one can practice .
 
While we can equally appeal for considering reduction to may be 2.5% based numerous agitations. There is a need to at least review the percentage of 3% consal COD and a need to expunge the area which allows the members to withdraw without emphasis on practice.
 
To this end, NANNM in collaboration with NMCN should put up a circular to inform the CMDs, DAs of Hospitals, notifying them that no nurse can practice without being a member of their professional association. 
 
Signed: Adelami O.E.
Chairman, NANNM, Osun State Council.
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