India asks Abuja hospital to return Indian doctors' passports
New Delhi: India has asked the Nigerian branch of an Indian hospital to return the passport of four Indian doctors who claim to have been forced to stay on in the Ebola-hit country against their wishes.
Making it clear that this is not a diplomatic issue, the Ministry of External Affairs said the hospital is Indian-owned, Indian-established and Indian-run.
"The doctors are Indians. As of this time, this is not a diplomatic issue of any sort between India and Nigeria," the spokesperson of the Ministry told reporters here Wednesday.
The issue revolves around the Primus Hospital in Nigerian capital Abuja and four doctors who want to return home for fear of contracting the deadly Ebola virus.
"It is true that there is no law which permits a hospital to keep passports of Indian nationals with them. So we have taken it up with hospital concerned and asked them to hand over the passport to Indian doctors because this is not permissible under Indian law nor permissible under local law," the official said.
He said that as of now there has not been any case of Ebola in Abuja.
"The nearest known case is in Lagos which is several hundred kilometres away. Neither the Indian High Commission in Abuja nor our camp office in Lagos has issued any advisory for Indians to leave those places," he added.
However, the official noted that it is an individual's choice to leave his/her job that he/she is working on and it happens in situations of stress.
"These doctors have been in touch with the High Commission on a regular basis. They also met our High Commissioner couple of days ago," he said adding the doctors desire to leave