SECURITY operatives from the Department of State Services (DSS) ended up dispersing the long queue of Nigerian doctors who turned up at the Sheraton Hotels in Abuja to partake in the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health interview.
Over the last week, Saudi Arabia has been recruiting Nigerian doctors using a government-licensed recruiting agency based in Abuja known as Meed Consultants. Under the plan, tagged Saudi Ministry of Health Doctors Recruitment August 2021, Meed has been interviewing doctors who registered for recruitment on its website.
On Tuesday this week, hundreds of medical consultants flooded the Ladi Kwali Hall of the hotel to participate in the recruitment. Another exercise was scheduled for yesterday and it appears that the numbers of doctors turning up has embarrassed the government into stopping the exercise.
Yesterday morning, DSS operatives stormed the hotel and dispersed the doctors and journalists, who gathered at the venue. Marcus Fatunde, a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), was arrested at the venue during the exercise, although he was later released.
An eyewitness said: “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.”
One doctor 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?”
Adejo Arome, the vice president of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, said: “Well, some people got to the venue 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 and 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 as 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.”