MOTTO: DIALOGUE, NOT VIOLENCE

1st May, 2024

PRESS RELEASE:

CLEAR DR AISHA: MURIC APPEALS TO EDUCATION MINISTRY

 

An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has waded into the case of Dr. Aisha Abana who studied medicine in China but was not cleared for national service. The group appealed to the Federal Ministry of Education to give her clearance to pave way for her compulsory one year national service.

 

According to the Executive Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola who issued a press statement on the issue on Wednesday, 1st May, 2024, failure to clear the qualified medical doctor for the one year national service constitutes a humongous disservice to the nation.

 

The full statement reads:

 

“The Federal Ministry of Education has refused to clear a female graduate of medicine, Dr. Aisha Abana, who studied in China. We learnt that the Ministry is unwilling to clear her because her course was interrupted in 2020 during the COVID-19 outbreak as foreign students in Chinese tertiary institutions were asked to return to their countries and to continue their studies online. 

 

“Dr. Aisha had trained at the Jinzou Medical University, College of International Education, Jinzou, Liaoning, People’s Republic of China from September 2016 to February 2020 when all foreign students were asked to return to their countries due to the outbreak of the dreaded Covid-19.

 

“She had spent three and a half years in the Chinese university. She continued her medical training online with the active participation of her university for one and a half year until she completed her course in medicine, did the mandatory one-year attachment that could be done either in China or Nigeria and was given approval to become a practicing doctor by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

 

“But she needed the evaluation and clearance of the Ministry of Education before she can proceed to the compulsory one-year national service and the ministry is not forthcoming due mainly to the one and a half year online training which her university arranged for her after the disruption of direct and physical classes by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“We are deeply perturbed by the ministry’s refusal to give her clearance. Online classes are recognized throughout the world as valid and authentic education programmes. The case of an educational programme in China during the pandemic should not be the odd one out. Or, like the deniers of the holocaust, is the Nigerian Ministry of Education denying the Covid-19 pandemic?

 

This decision smirks of sadism and addiction to a culture of waste. It is also symptomatic of the pull-them-down syndrome. Who did this to Nigeria? The government is complaining of shortage of medical personnel but here is the ministry charged with the responsibility of clearing medical graduates proving to Nigerians that it is neck-deep in red-tapism. Ainal- mafaru (Where do we go from here?).

 

“Our hearts bleed as we review statistical data of Nigerian medical doctors in the ‘japa’ syndrome. The facts stand in contradistinction to the issues surrounding the rejection of this eminently qualified medical doctor, Dr. Aisha Abana.

 

Exempli gratia, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) lamented in 2021 that ‘less than half of the over 80,000 doctors registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) were practising in the country, giving the country’s doctor-to-population ratio of between 1-4,000 and 1-5,000’.

 

“Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended one doctor to 600 people. But our own ratio is still one to 5,000. Yet the ministry wants to throw one medical doctor away!  

 

(See Ihua B, Nsofor I. Emigration of Nigerian medical doctors, survey report. https://noi-polls.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Emigration-of-Doctors-Press-Release-July-2018-Survey-Report.pdf).

 

“Unlike thousands of her colleagues who have sought greener pastures abroad, Dr. Aisha Abana wants to practice in Nigeria but Nigerian officials do not want her here. We ask again, who did this to Nigeria?

 

“In 2014, the acute shortage of physicians in Nigeria, particularly in the North, led today’s Vice President, Kashim Shettima, to exhibit his Allah-given visionary leadership by sponsoring sixty (60) female students abroad to study medicine. They returned recently and they visited the vice president to register their appreciation. 50 of them are now working in Borno State hospitals. (https://www.vanguardngr.com/2024/04/trained-doctors-are-back-in-borno-all-thanks-to-vp-shettima/).  

 

“Interestingly the ministry’s victim, Dr. Aisha Abana, is also from Borno State. She knows where the shoe pinches and she has decided to pitch her tent with her state and country. It is the height of patriotism. Why should the ministry deny her this right? Instead of despising her, she should be treated like the heroine she is.

 

“Unlike the 60 lucky female students sponsored by the Borno State government under VP Shettima as governor at that time, Aisha was single-handedly sponsored by her father who paid through his nose, toiling day and night. Why should such a father be denied the right to enjoy his labour in old age?

 

“MURIC salutes Dr. Aisha for her resilience, diligence and patriotism. Ditto for her father. We doff our hat to him; He is one of the most responsible fathers in Nigeria today. He deserves encomiums for daring all the odds to sponsor a female child to read medicine in a male-dominated environment where the female child is often seen as a marriage asset only.

 

“We charge the daughter to remain bold and to hold her head high. People like her are rare in this country. We assure her that she is not alone in her struggle to get integrated into the Nigerian society. We stand by her every inch of the way. Solidarity forever!

 

“The perceived discrepancy between the year of graduation, the expiration date of her passport and exit from China hold no water. How can the year of her graduation, the expiration date of her passport and her exit from China rhyme when we all know that she left China before graduating?

 

“These are irrelevant issues that have no bearing on the issue at stake. It is like a public bus driver refusing to take a passenger because the latter did not come with his pet dog. What has the passenger’s pet dog got to do with the driver’s job? Was Dr. Aisha querried by the Chinese or Nigerian immigrations? Why should the ministry leave the tangential for the peripheral?

 

“For the avoidance of any doubt, we affirm our commitment to the promotion of girl-child education and we will leave no stone unturned where the girl-child is being denied her right to enjoy the fruits of her education and hardwork.

 

“In particular, we reaffirm our interest, not only in the increase in the number of female medical doctors but in their geometric proliferation across the country.  It is well known that Islam teaches that females should be touched only by females and vice versa. More female doctors in our hospitals will promote this tenet. The more female medical doctors in Nigeria, whether Muslims or Christians, the better for us. This is where the ministry’s refusal to clear Dr. Aisha Abana touched a cord in MURIC’s anatomy.

 

“We appeal to the Ministry of Education to review the case of Dr. Aisha. Failure to clear her will be a disservice to her state in particular and to Nigeria in general. It is unpopular ‘benching’, pernicious redundancy, sheer wastage and acrobatic red-tapism. Failure to accredit her will vindicate skilled Nigerians who migrate to other countries. At that point, accusing fingers will be pointed at Nigerian officials for instigating mass migration of talented youths.

 

“For microscopic clarity, we are not asking the ministry to put the cart before the horse. Neither are we asking it to break any rules. MURIC stands for due process. We supported this same Ministry of Education in the case of fake degrees from Togo, Republic of Benin, etc in January 2024 (https://www.vanguardngr.com/2024/01/muric-hails-fgs-suspension-of-degrees-from-benin-togo/) but the case of Dr. Aisha is another cup of tea.

 

“Nigeria cannot afford to waste a medical graduate who is willing to serve her country, when thousands of Nigerian doctors have swallowed the ‘japa’ pill and there are no doctors to attend to the sick. It is unwise, uncharitable, unprofessional and unpatriotic. Therefore, it is unacceptable. Dr. Aisha Abana should be cleared if there is no hidden agenda. We remain oppressed until the Ministry of Education does the needful.”

 

#MinistryOfEducation

#ClearDrAishaAbana

 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Founder/Executive Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).

 

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