Guidelines For Registration As A Medical Or Dental Practitioner In Nigeria

Registration and licensure of Medical and Dental Practitioners in Nigeria are among the duties deriving from the Council's assigned responsibilities, and the guidelines contained in this publication are intended to enlighten persons wishing to practise in Nigeria as to the requirements for their registration and licensure and the privileges and responsibilities appertaining thereto.

The Medical and Dental Practitioners Act require that all persons wishing to practise Medicine or Dentistry in Nigeria must be registered in a specific category out of three possible categories and must in addition be licensed to carry on with practice in the registered category. It also requires that a registered, practitioner who desires to. practise as a specialist in any specialized area of Medicine or Dentistry must be registered as such a specialist by the Council.

The following sections outline the necessary requirements for registration and licensing of practitioners in the different categories as required by law.

The Medical and Dental Practitioners Act stipulates at section 18, subsection 1 that:

1. "A person shall not hold an appointment or practise as a medical practitioner or dental surgeon in Nigeria unless he is registered with the Council under the provisions of this Law."

2. “No registered medical practitioner or dental surgeon shall practice as a medical practitioner or dental surgeon, as the case may be, in any year unless he/she has paid to the Council in respect of that year the appropriate practicing fee...”

3. "Any person who practices medicine or dentistry any where in Nigeria without being appropriately registered with the council contravenes the law and so does his/her employer."

Section 17 declares it an offence to contravene the foregoing section and prescribes the appropriate penalties for such contravention.


 Any medical practitioner or dental surgeon who in respect of any year and without paying the prescribed practicing fee practices as such shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction:

(a) in the Case of a first offence, to a fine of twice the prescribed practicing fee.. and

(b) in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than ten times the prescribed practicing fees".

(c) Late payment shall attract a surcharge as may be determined by the Council from time to time, without prejudice- to any other penal provisions in the statute.

All doctors are advised to meet this commitment promptly as conviction under this section will be viewed seriously by the Council. By the Regulations of the Council, practitioners are expected to pay their practicing fees for the ensuing year before 31st December of the preceding year in order to be currently licensed on the first day of the New Year.

The law further stipulates as follows, where a practitioner who is in employment has defaulted from payment of the practicing fee:

“and if the medical practitioner or dental surgeon is in the employment of any person, that person shall also be guilty of an offence and punished in like manner as the medical practitioner or dental surgeon, unless he/she proves that the failure to pay the practicing fee was without his/her knowledge, consent or connivance”.

All members of the Guild of Medical Directors and all administrative heads of hospitals, both public and private, are to take due notice of this aspect of the law.