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Amotekun is biblical, impossible for Muslims to be part of it – MURIC

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The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked governors of the south-west states to rebrand Amotekun, saying it has biblical undertones.

The Western Nigeria Security Network is code-named Amotekun, the Yoruba word for leopard.

But, in a statement on Monday, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC’s director, said Amotekun has its origin in the Bible and it would be impossible for Muslims to be a part of it.

“Jeremiah 5:6 says, ‘A leopard shall guard over their city’. Amotekun is mentioned in this verse with particular reference to guarding a city. Now, we have a sub-region where Muslims have been under persecution for ages coming up with a security outfit under the name of the same leopard mentioned in the bible as a guard over the city,” he said.

“This is not a coincidence. The handlers of Amotekun picked the name deliberately from the bible in order to score a spiritual point. It is very critical. It calls for serious concern. So why give a security unit a religious name?

“We advise the planners of the new security outfit to give it another name in the interest of peace and harmony in the sub-region. This is necessary if they want to carry all stakeholders along. Amotekun as a name is already controversial. We do not need a Christian security unit. Neither do we need a Muslim security outfit. The security agency in the South West must not only be neutral, it must also be seen to be neutral.

“We affirm that Muslims form the majority in the population of the south-west. They are therefore critical stakeholders and the unity of the Yoruba cannot become fait accompli without involving the Muslims in the sub-region. Muslims must be carried along in any security network in the zone. We are interested in security. We are security conscious.

“We will therefore join a South West security initiative if it is not tainted with Christian landmarks. We will have confidence in a security outfit that involves Muslim leaders, not one that parades pastors, bishops and archbishops alone.

“It must also be noted that a security group that starts with subtle threats to our brethren in faith in another part of the country cannot be safe for Muslims in Yorubaland. There is no racism or tribalism in Islam (Qur’an 49:13). It is a global brotherhood. Yoruba Muslims love Yorubaland. They also love Nigeria. But they owe their Creator, Allah, an unflinching and undiluted love towards their brothers and sisters in Islam no matter their race, tribe or colour.”

Akintola had earlier had accused governors of the south-west of recruiting only Christians into Amotekun which he had described as a militia.

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Nigerian doctors stopped by immigration promised N47.9m salary

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Lagos AIrport

The 58 Nigerian doctors who were prevented by the Nigeria Immigration Service from boarding a plane to the United Kingdom were expected to earn between £51,384 (N25.1m) and £98,112 (N47.9m) per year depending on the experience they have.

This is apart from the special allowances and other perks such as free-feeding they were expected to get on the job.

This is according to the advertorial by NES Health Care, a UK-based firm that helps over 150 private hospitals to recruit doctors from all over the world.

The advertorial reads in part,

“Are you a doctor with ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and anaesthesia experience, looking for a better work / life balance? At NES Healthcare we can offer you this with one of our ICU RMO positions.

“You will be working in a private Hospital group, and we have various locations around the UK. The rotation is one week on duty then one week off + accommodation and meals are provided free of charge during your on duty week.

“To apply you will need a minimum of three years post-graduate experience and have 18+ months of ICU and Anaesthesia experience.

Salary is from £51,384 to £98,112 dependent on experience. Contract is for a minimum of one year. You will need to hold full GMC registration with a licence to practice, or be eligible to apply.”

The firm states that its aim is to successfully address the acute shortage of doctors in the UK and to do so in a way that simultaneously reduces overall expenditure.

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The PUNCH learnt that hundreds of Nigerian doctors had applied for the jobs advertised by NES Health Care as far back as January and had written exams and been interviewed via Skype.

Many of them had also been offered employment in the UK and had processed their necessary documents through the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and obtained security clearance from the Nigeria Police Force attesting to the fact that they had no criminal record.

However, the last step to their emigration which was obtaining a UK visa was not achieved because the UK High Commission in Nigeria had remained closed since April due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to PUNCH in mid-June, the recruiting firm sent an email to the doctors, informing them that they had received approval from the UK government to fly them to England after which they would be issued visas on arrival.

The doctors were also asked to pay £500 (N244, 500) to secure a seat on a chartered aeroplane that would fly from the UK to convey them from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos because Nigeria had not yet lifted the ban on flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The email which was sighted by The PUNCH read in part,

“I am the recruitment director with NES Healthcare and I would like to inform you of an important update.

As you are aware, the TSL Contact Visa Centres in Nigeria are currently closed and there is no guidance when they will be re-opening.

“In addition, we are aware that there are no immediate plans to re-open Nigerian airspace to international/commercial flights.

“We have therefore been in discussions with UK Visas and Immigration about a potential solution that would allow you to travel to the UK. With their agreement, we will issue you a visa waiver letter. This will allow you to travel to the UK and then apply for your visa once you are here.

“We are also planning to arrange a private charter flight to the UK leaving from Nigeria… The cost of the flight will be heavily subsidised by NES Healthcare so we will only ask for a contribution of £500 towards this.”

It was learnt that after the necessary payments had been made by about 58 of the doctors, they made their way to the MMIA but were stopped from travelling by the NIS.

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The NIS spokesman, Sunday James, said in a statement on Friday that the doctors claimed to be going for training but had no visas.

The statement read in part,

“The 58 medical doctors were refused departure in line with Section 31 subsection 2a and b, of Act 2015.

The chartered flight approved for landing in Nigeria was to carry 42 medical doctors for a training program but they were 58 with only two having visas for entry into the UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure.”

Calls put through to NES Healthcare’s London phone number went straight to voicemail on Saturday.

Nigeria has witnessed the exit of hundreds of doctors in recent years due to the poor salaries they earn which is usually between N80,000 ($206) and N150,000 ($387) per month for doctors with less than three years experience working in public hospitals.

These doctors which usually have to work under poor conditions are known for embarking on strike at least once every year.

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Lagos shuts down illegal Covid-19 lab in Ikoyi

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The Lagos State Government has shut down a private laboratory in the Ikoyi area of the state for running Covid-19 tests without approval.

It was gathered that Acouns Medical Laboratory and Diagnostic Centre was situated in a pharmacy on Banana Island.

The state’s Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency said the outlet was closed on Friday.

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It added,

“We will continue to do our best to ensure that health facilities in the state adhere strictly to standards to guarantee the health and wellbeing of Lagosians.

“Members of the public are encouraged to cooperate fully with the Lagos State Government to ensure the safety and health of all even as we strive to contain the spread of Covid-19 in Lagos.”

 

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NIS stops 58 doctors from travelling to UK without visas

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The Nigeria Immigration Service said it stopped 58 doctors from travelling to the United Kingdom.

The doctors were stopped at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Friday.

According to a statement by the NIS Public Relations Officer, Sunday James, 56 of the 58 doctors billed to be airlifted to the UK on a special flight for a “training programme” in London were refused departure as they had no entry visas to their destination country.

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The service disclosed that the aircraft had departed for London without the medical doctors.

It said,

“The 58 medical doctors were refused departure in line with section 31 subsection 2a and b, on powers conferred on the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service by the Immigration Act 2015, to prohibit departure of any person under the conditions stated in the Act.

“The chartered flight approved for landing in Nigeria was to carry 42 medical doctors for a training programme, but they were 58 with only two having visas for entry into UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure.”

As the agency saddled with control of entry and departure from Nigeria, the service said it would not allow individuals who should know the procedures for travelling abroad, from leaving the country.

“This is to avoid refusal of entry and repatriation to Nigeria amid COVID-19 pandemic and spreading of same as well as flouting the Federal Government’s directive on the restriction of international flights unless for an essential reason as approved by the government,” the NIS noted.

It explained that there was  no official communication to the service from the Ministry of Health or any known medical body notifying the NIS of the travel of the doctors.

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