Dieticians petition National Assembly over controversial bill

The Institute for Dietetics in Nigeria (IDN) has petitioned the Senate President and the National Assembly over the passage of a bill titled Dietician Council of Nigeria Bill 2016 into law calling on the lawmakers to halt the controversial bill.

The IDN call was contained in a petition addressed to the Senate President and signed by its Secretary, Tajudeen Olutope and copied the Clerk of the Senate, the Upper Chamber Legal Department and a Member of the House of Representatives from Oyo State, Hon Odebunmi Dokun and the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Health.

The controversial bill according to the petitioner had already passed through the First and Second Readings at the House of Representatives, saying only the Senate can stop it from becoming a law.

The IDN said while having a law that would regulate the practice of dietetics in Nigeria had been its top priority over the years, the current situation whereby a faction of the professionals in the field would be the one championing the move for selfish reason is worrisome.

The Dieticians stated in the statement  “We discovered that the proponent of the controversial bill was a breakaway faction of dieticians from our professional body formerly known as Nigeria  Dietetics  Association of Nigeria (NDA) which metamorphosed into IDN and to which all members subscribed to.

“At the moment, dieticians from the entire Northern Nigeria and the other remaining two zones are in the main IDN and those who do not share the ideology of the factional Dieticians Association of Nigeria (DAN) and its leadership.

“DAN as an association of dieticians is restricted to a section in Nigeria. It is not a national association and it is not the national umbrella of the dieticians in Nigeria,” the petitioner said.

The dieticians said apart from the fact that majority of the practitioners  in the country have no input in the bill under consideration, saying the bill was outside the control of the Minister of Health who should ordinarily galvanise support for  the implementation of the bill whenever it becomes a law like other professions in the health field.

“In Nigeria, it is the minister of health that breaths life into any law that regulates any of the health professions.

“In the case of instant bill, the duty and powers to be exercised by the president/ minister of health were arrogated to the sectional DAN,” it lamented.