By Henry Iheanacho
Operatives of the Department of State Services, (DSS) on Thursday, stormed Sheraton Hotels, Abuja and dispersed medical doctors who were to take part in the recruitment interview organised by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health.
The recruitment exercise which commenced in Abuja on Tuesday, saw medical consultants in their hundreds flooding the Ladi Kwali Hall of the hotel to participate, while another exercise was scheduled for Thursday.
According to The Punch, DSS operatives stormed the hotel on Thursday morning and dispersed the doctors and journalists, who gathered at the venue.
Vice-President, Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors, Adejo Arome, told The PUNCH 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.”
A journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Marcus Fatunde, was arrested at the venue, but 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.”
A doctor, who craved anonymity 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?”
DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, could not immediately respond to inquiries by The Punch on the incident as he was not picking his calls.
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