By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Committee on Heath Care Services yesterday summoned the Registrar of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Dr Tajudeen Sanusi, to appear before it unfailingly on Friday to answer questions bothering on the ongoing strike by Resident Doctors.
The MDCN boss, Sanusi who was to appear before the committee on Thursday failed to honour the committee invitation with an excuse that he was attending Medical Council tribunal.
Chairman of the House Committee on Healthcare Services, Hon. Tanko Sununu told newsmen that the action of the Registrar amount to attending to an individual issue at the expense of a national emergency, adding that the House will be forced to invoke all relevant laws if he fail to appear before the committee by 9.00am on Friday.
The registrar was to appear before the Committee on Thursday over issues surrounding the payment of house officers but failed to turn up, but rather sent a letter on his inability to appear, signed by a director of the Council.
Sununu said “we sent out invitations to all major stakeholders to attend this meeting. Unfortunately he refused to appear. So because he is a major stakeholder, we have decided to call off the meeting today and summon him to appear unfailingly before us by 9am tomorrow (Friday), failure which, we are going to invoke all the necessary powers of the National Assembly including the warrant of arrest on the Registrar.
“We cannot watch while people are suffering. We also call on the striking doctors to please temper justice with mercy. Everybody believes that your demands are genuine, but there are processes to achieve them.
“We were informed that they (MDCN) were right now conducting medical disciplinary tribunal and meeting which we believe is the case of an individual. We are here to address national interests. Peoples’ lives were lost during the strike, services were interrupted, accessibility to health-care was also denied because of the strike.
“And to make matters worse, in Nigeria 70 per cent of healthcare procurement is out of pocket. The economy has gone down, so access to healthcare is in question. We cannot as representatives of the people allow the country to continue like this.
“Mr Speaker is fully with us though outside country, but he is still going to meet with striking doctors to further solidify what is expected to be done today. The National Assembly will ensure the right thing is done, but we must also respect the due processes of the law.
“There are people who are receiving multiple salaries from different hospitals. Those who are receiving multiple salaries and the hospital involved were all forwarded to the committee and the committee would table it before the House for necessary action to be taken. Definitely justice must be done,” he said.