Operatives of the Department of State Services, on Thursday, dispersed medical doctors, who stormed the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja, to take part in the recruitment interview organised by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health.

SaharaReporters had on Thursday reported that no fewer than 500 Nigerian medical doctors on Tuesday in Abuja participated in a recruitment exercise organised by the Saudi Arabia health ministry.

This is amidst the ongoing strike embarked on by the National Association of Resident Doctors in the country.

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 released later.

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, said the organisers 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.”

SaharaReporters had reported that the Saudi Arabian recruitment exercise was held at Sheraton Hotel and witnessed a large crowd of Nigerian doctors with different specialties such as anesthesia, ICU, pediatric surgery, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology.

Others were; ENT, emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery, radiology, hematology and others.

SaharaReporters had learnt that the recruitment exercise was conducted by an agency on behalf of the Saudi Ministry of Health and that another recruitment exercise would be conducted in Lagos State and other parts of the country.

Applicants were said to have been paid N10,000 as the application fee after which medical certificates, means of identification, and other documents were tendered.

Recall that the NARD had on August 2, 2021 embarked on indefinite strike action at the end of the union’s National Executive Council meeting in Umuahia, Abia State.

The strike is over the inability of the Federal Government to implement the agreements it entered with the union 113 days after it suspended the previous strike as a reason for the industrial action.

 

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