The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, on Thursday, decried the salary disparity between foreign medical doctors and their Nigerian counterparts in some states in the country.
Ngige, who addressed journalists after a meeting with a team from the Federal Character Commission (FCC) led by its chairman, Dr. Muheeba Dankaka in Abuja, noted that foreign doctors are paid five times higher than their Nigerian colleagues.
He warned that such preferential treatment works against national unity and loyalty.
The minister said: “The constitution did not say that you do only cases in the public sector. There are areas we need you to look into especially where the constitution is silent.
“We have cases where doctors were employed from Egypt, Cuba, and Pakistan and they are paid five times what the Nigerian doctor will get if you convert the foreign exchange they use to pay them.
“But in this country, I was here when some of my teachers left from South-East to go and teach in the North-East at a time. They left because we had enough down there to export to our brothers. They were paid with our local currency and given some other incentives which at the end of the day make the economy of those states to be alright.
“Whether you like it or not, if some people are poor in Nigeria in the poverty index rating, when the Nigerian poverty index is being taken, it will be an aggregate, including those places. If it is health, when the health parameters are being taken, it is for the whole. So, FCC can go into that area.
“Our constitution is the Supreme law of the land. And any law made by anybody, whether national and state assembly that is in conflict with the constitution is void. So, you people have a strong mandate from the supreme law of the land. I think you should help us build a new country.
“A country where we will not be talking about hatred because it is some of these perceptions that cannot even be separated from reality that breeds all the discontent and hate speeches we see.
“We must strive to unite our country. All these North and South, East and West, they are artificial geographical demarcations. One body that can unite our country is FCC. As you are here now, you are no longer politicians.
“We count on your chairman that wherever she goes flying the umbrella of justice, freedom, and fair play. We need it for Nigerian workers. We need it for the Nigerian people. If we distribute schools well, people will go to school in the areas where there are no schools now.”
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