Saturday, May 28, 2022

SSS officers open fire at recruitment centre, chase away doctors seeking job to Saudi Arabia

The interviews had been scheduled for 8:00 a.m. and many of the doctors had been arriving at the venue as of 5:30 a.m., a doctor said.

• August 27, 2021
SSS and Doctors

Armed operatives of the State Security Service on Thursday opened fire outside Sheraton Hotel in Abuja to disperse Nigerian doctors who were arriving for an interview for medical positions in Saudi Arabia, witnesses told Peoples Gazette.

At least one person was injured and had been moved to a hospital in Mabushi neighbourhood of the Nigerian capital, The Gazette learnt.

The secret police officers mounted a barricade outside the hotel to block people seeking to enter through Abacha Estate, according to one of the doctors who identified himself as Doctor Olubanjo in a telephone chat with The Gazette.

“The officers tried to block us from entering Sheraton but some of us insisted that we were on our way for an interview organised by the Saudi government,” Mr Olubanjo said. “But we were forcibly chased away when the officers started shooting into the air to disperse us with threats that they will kill us and no one would punish them.”

The programme was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. and many of them had been arriving at the venue as of 5:30 a.m., he said.

Mr Olubanjo said the organisers later told them the interview had been suspended but wondered why that became the case when a similar exercise held last week at a hotel in Lagos.

A spokesman for the SSS did not return a request seeking comments. A telephone line for Sheraton in Abuja did not connect on Friday morning.

Nigerian medical professionals have been on a desperate bid to leave the country following years of incessant strikes over low remuneration and generally poor welfare. They have been moving to Europe, Canada, Saudi Arabia and other countries where they hoped to get better training and practice.

It was not immediately clear why the SSS was sent to truncate yesterday’s interviews, which came barely a week after Nigerian labour minister Chris Ngige insisted that the country was not in short supply of medical doctors. The minister said the widespread claims of brain drain in the country’s medical sector was false and should be disregarded.

We have recently deactivated our website's comment provider in favour of other channels of distribution and commentary. We encourage you to join the conversation on our stories via our Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages.

More from Peoples Gazette

States

Four suspected rail track vandals arrested in Kaduna

Operatives of the NSCDC arrested four suspected vandals and recovered 500 railway slippers in Kaduna.

Politics

APC Oshodi-Isolo II APC Primary: Jude Idimogu scores zero; loses third term bid

His greatest challenger, Oladipo Ajomale, pulled 30 votes from the 30 party delegates to emerge winner of the exercise.

Politics

James Faleke wins APC Ikeja Federal Constituency ticket for fourth term

The Returning Officer, Ewosho Oladunjoye, declared Mr Faleke the winner having polled 47 votes out of a possible 50.

Senator Teslim Folarin

Politics

Teslim Folarin emerges APC guber candidate for Oyo

Mr Folarin polled 954 votes, Mr Adelabu 327, Mr Agbaje 15, Mr Alao six, Mr Adeduntan two votes while Mr Akintola had no vote.