DSS denies chasing Medical Doctors away at interview venue with Saudi Arabia.

v Journalists insist it’s a lie.

v Health Minister Ehanire says Govt will hire foreign Doctors for Nigerians.

Operatives of the Department of State Services, on Thursday, proved again that it was out to deprive Nigerians of their fundamental human rights and cow everyone as it dispersed medical doctors, who stormed the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja, to take part in the recruitment interview organized by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health.

Hundreds flooded the Ladi Kwali Hall of the hotel on Tuesday to participate in the recruitment, while another exercise was scheduled for Thursday as reported by the Nigerian media.

But the DSS operatives stormed the hotel on Thursday morning and dispersed the doctors and journalists, who gathered at the venue.

A journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Marcus Fatunde, was arrested at the venue. Fatunde was, however, released later.

An eyewitness told The PUNCH, “When I came here, we saw the DSS operatives dispersing the people that came for the interview and before we knew it, everywhere had been scattered.

“A journalist with the ICIR, Marcus Fatunde, was also arrested, but he has been released.”

A doctor, who did not want his name in print said, “Some of us, who came here today, came because we don’t even have jobs and we don’t want to do the wrong things.

“Two categories of people were here today: the jobless ones and the ones who are poorly remunerated.

“We didn’t commit any crime; we just wanted a better system. So, why is the government trying to frustrate us?

The Vice-President, Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Adejo Arome, told The PUNCH that the organizers of the interview confirmed to him that the exercise had been suspended.

He said, “Well, some people got to the venue today (Thursday) and when they didn’t meet anyone, they called me and I confirmed from the recruiters and some other doctors that the recruitment has been suspended.

“The recruitment on Tuesday garnered coverage, because of the media publicity. It was everywhere that doctors were going to Saudi Arabia.

“The recruiters had to suspend it because the Federal Government said it felt embarrassed by the news.

“It is a big shame. The government has no right to infringe on the right of the citizens to choose to go to another country. If the system is not working, let them go to another country.”

The Department of State Security Services, DSS, on Friday morning however denied dispersing doctors at a Job interview organized by Saudi Arabian officials in Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

In a statement signed by PRO, Dr. Peter Afunanya the Secret agency disclosed that no operation was carried out in the hotel.

“The attention of the Department of State Services has once again been drawn to a falsehood being circulated in the media that it dispersed doctors attending a Saudi Arabia organized job interview at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, yesterday 26th August, 2021.”

“Though this is illogical and does not add up, sections of the media that reported it did not care to verify the news before going to print. No further evidence was also adduced to prove that the DSS carried out such operation at the hotel. It is obvious that the news is only designed to embarrass the Organization.”

“Journalists and other media practitioners are enjoined to crosscheck their facts and ensure that they do not use their platforms to mislead the public or undermine national security.”

But an Abuja based Editor said developments in Nigeria will erode the confidence of the people on the Nigerian government and its agencies over perpetual lies and deceit claiming his reporter and other journalists were chased out of the Hotel which is a shame but now this denial.

“We are making ourselves international ridicule the way we run governance in Nigeria,” he said.

Only on Wednesday, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire on an International Television, Arise Tv- ‘Arise News Night’ that if the mass exodus of Nigerian doctors persist, the Federal Government may be forced to hire doctors abroad.

But Ehanire said currently there are no plans in place to effect the option.

Ehanire, a former foreign based Doctor himself made the statement against the backdrop of mass movement of Nigerian medical personnel abroad.

But Ehanire said, “If so many doctors as you see leave our country and go and seek work in other countries, then Nigeria also will have the right to also import other doctors.

“We are not doing that just to make it clear, we are not. But we do know that some people have speculated in the past about Nigeria bringing doctors from outside.”

In a normal clime and according to the medical ethics foreign based Doctors cannot be ordinarily absorbed into the system, even Nigerian Doctors going abroad will write another qualifying exam but Ehanire maintained that the country have not started outsourcing,

The health minister decried that a handful of the doctors who are leaving the country were trained using tax payer’s money.

“It is not something that we are happy with and again, if you look back a very good number of these doctors have been trained at the expense of tax payers’ money and then when you get all your papers right, then you decide to leave. There is a legal question thereabout,” he said.

Explaining plans to tackle the faceoff between the Federal Government and the NARD, he said the issues raised by the doctors particularly as regards salaries and allowances would be addressed.

Ehanire explained that the first approach, “is trying to answer to the problems that they have brought up with regards to their salaries and allowances and then also see about the new demands that they have made.

“For example, doctors are calling to extend their retirement age up what normally obtained in the Civil Service. They have been given a generous hazard allowance, good life insurance under the circumstances and health workers who lost their lives sadly, we have pushed the insurance companies to respond and about 311 cheques have been issued, so we are doing everything that we can within our means.”

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