By Abdullahi Muhammad and Abdullahi M. Gulloma
Medical doctors at the State House Medical Centre have expressed concern what they referred to as “illegal deductions” from their salaries and alleged persecution by management of the clinic.
Th e State House Medical Centre provides healthcare treatment for the President, Vice President as well as their families and numerous civil servants working at the Presidential Villa that are drawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government.
In an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, the doctors alleged that deductions were being made on their salaries since April without any communication from the management of the clinic.
Th ey also alleged that their call and teaching allowances were being slashed without any offi cial communication.
Th e doctors also alleged that their colleagues currently on training across some facilities were being denied tuition by the management of the clinic against the normal tradition.
A copy of the letter written under anonymity ‘for fear of further persecution’, was sourced by one of our correspondents.
Th e letter reads in part: “Sir, we are all living witnesses to a period not too distant from our memories when SMHC provided care for visiting heads of states and dignitaries due to the wide range of world class medical facilities and professionals who could hold their own anywhere in the world.
“Sir, a few months ago, many doctors in the employment of State House who are also on postgraduate medical training having been offi cially released to various training facilities around the country as “Supranumery Resident Doctors” started noticing “unauthorised salary deductions” from their pay slips as generated by the IPPIS.
“Th ere was no offi cial notifi cation preceding this action.
The “unauthorised salary deductions” have continued without any official explanation as to the reason for such action; we are in the sixth month of this action.
“Further inquiries by many of the doctors for offi cial written explanation for the genesis of these deductions have met with rather “vague” responses from the State House salary department and senior administrative offi cers at the “Villa”.
“Numerous doctors are caught in the web of the unfortunate incident which has brought undue hardships on doctors located in various training facilities around the country.
“Acquiring post graduate training as “Supranumery physicians” has been a norm with such doctors returning to SHMC after completing their training thereby bringing back such required knowledge and expertise making excellent world class healthcare available to our State House families.
Plea to Buhari: Th e doctors, therefore, appealed to the President to ensure that salaries deducted without due process be refunded immediately with arrears that might have accrued.
“We humbly request your intervention on the above subject matter as someone who believes in the policy of fair treatment and the rule of law; and to ask that all “illegal salary deductions” stop henceforth.
“We humbly ask that the policy on skipping and payment of promotion salary arrears as is being done for our colleagues in other institutions be implemented.
We humbly request your assistance in ensuring that salary deducted without due process be refunded immediately with arrears that might have accrued.
“We humbly request that you intervene in what obviously looks like an eff ort to frustrate hardworking and committee medical doctors out of the federal civil service,” the doctors pleaded among others.
Th e aggrieved medical practitioners reiterated their commitment to serving their fatherland, saying, “we are law abiding and committed Nigerians who believe in this country, and we have chosen to remain at home to provide medical care and contribute to nation-building.
“We are aware that many medical doctors are currently leaving the country in droves to seek greener pastures overseas, but we have chosen to remain.
PS Arabi could not be reached Eff orts to reach the Permanent Secretary in State House, Mr. Jalal Arabi, for reactions on the issues raised in the letter proved abortive.
Aisha Buhari slams mgt Meanwhile, Wife of the President, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, has followed the footsteps of her daughter, Zahra, by criticising the management of Aso Rock Clinic.
Zahra Buhari had last week taken to her Instagram page to criticise the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Jalal Arabi, for his inability to provide even paracetamol tablets to the clinic despite a budget of N3 billion for the provision of drugs to the hospital.
Speaking yesterday at a stakeholders’ meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Nutrition, Child Advocacy and Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) at the State House, Abuja, Mrs. Buhari said she recently fell ill and was advised to travel to London for treatment, but she refused.
She said: “I called the Aso Clinic to fi nd out if they have an X-Ray machine; they said it’s not working.
In the end, I had to go to a hospital owned and operated by foreigners 100 per cent.
“Th ere is a budget for the hospital and if you go there now, you will see a number of constructions going on but they don’t have a single syringe there.
What is the purpose of the buildings if there are no equipment there to work with? You can imagine what happens across the states to governors’ wives if this will happen to me in Abuja.
” Th e Aso Rock Clinic management had said last week that it was short of funds for major projects and purchases and would demand the commercialisation of the clinic’s operations for effi ciency