THE Federal Government on Monday feigned ignorance as a firm concluded an arrangement to recruit Nigerian doctors for Saudi Arabia. The firm, Meed Consultants, is recruiting doctors in different specialities under a programme tagged, ‘Saudi Ministry of Health Doctors Recruitment August 2021.”
The government-licensed recruiting agency based in Abuja has fixed Tuesday (today) as the interview date for doctors who registered for recruitment on its website. This is coming at a time resident doctors under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors are currently on strike.
Our correspondent reported that flyers announcing the recruitment had been trending on social media, especially WhatsApp platforms. But when contacted on the matter on Monday, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, denied knowledge of the exercise. He directed our correspondent to the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire. According to Ngige, the Health Minister is in charge of doctors.
“I am not aware of that. You can please contact the Minister of Health. His ministry is in charge of doctors,” the minister stressed. Ehanire, however, did not take the calls made to his known telephone line.
He had also yet to respond to the text message sent to him on the matter as of the time of filing this report.
However, in his reaction, NARD President, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, told The PUNCH doctors were at liberty to do whatever they wanted to do since the government had failed to fulfil its promises. He said there was no benefit for any doctor still practising in Nigeria, saying those who were staying back were only being patriotic.
Okhuaihesuyi said, “Everybody is free to do whatever he/she wants. The government has not fulfilled its promises to the health sector. Those who stay behind are only doing so because of patriotism, not as if there is any benefit or something.”
Efforts made by our correspondent to reach the firm on the telephone line on its website did not yield results as the line did not connect. An enquiry posted on the website has also not been replied to.
According to the interview invitation, specialities that will be interviewed for employment include anaesthesia, ICU, paediatrics surgery, family medicine (consultants only), obstetrics and gynaecology, ENT, Emergency medicine, all sub-specialities (surgery), all sub-specialities (internal medicine), orthopaedic surgery, Ophthalmology, Radiology as well as Haematology and Histopathology.
The invitation also listed requirements such as originals and photocopies of all credentials; an updated CV with a chronologically detailed summary of experience, two passport-sized photographs and a valid form of identification. The interview is scheduled to hold at the Ladi Kwali Conference Centre, Sheraton Hotels, Abuja.
Some doctors, who did not want their names in print, told our correspondent it was not the first time the firm would be recruiting for Saudi authorities. One of them said the firm conducted a similar interview in 2018 for medical consultants. He said, “This is not the first time they are organising such recruitment. This was also done in 2018. They held one in Lagos and another in Abuja.
“Lots of doctors are coming out tomorrow (today). It is not about being an Islamic country; it is about conditions of service. As a Christian, if it means I have to go to an Islamic country to get better conditions of service, then I will go.”