By Olajide Meseko
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.
It was reported that medical consultants in their hundreds flooded the Ladi Kwali Hall of the hotel to participate in the recruitment, while another exercise was scheduled for Thursday.
It was gathered that 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 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.”
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 that 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.”
Efforts made to get the reaction of the spokesman for the DSS, Peter Afunanya, did not yield positive results as of the time of filing this report as he did not take his calls and had yet to respond to a message sent to his mobile telephone.