Udora Orizu in Abuja
The House of Representatives Committee on Health Care Services has threatened to invoke a warrant of arrest if the Registrar of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN), Tajudeen Sanusi, fails to appear before the committee on Friday.
Sanusi was invited to appear before the lawmakers on Thursday to answer questions on the ongoing strike by resident doctors and payment of house officers.
The lawmakers had to call off the meeting after a letter was delivered informing the committee that Sanusi was attending a tribunal of the council.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Tanko Sununu, said Sanusi failed to honour an invitation on a national emergency while attending a personal engagement.
According to him, ”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 [Friday], failing 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 a medical disciplinary tribunal and meeting which we believe is the case of an individual.
”We are here to address national interests. People’s lives were lost during the strike, services were interrupted, accessibility to healthcare 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.”