The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has said that eight doctors and six dependents have been kidnapped in Cross River in the last four years.
Dr Agam Ayuk, Chairman of the association in the state, disclose this on Thursday when he led members of the association on a peaceful protest to the Cross River House of Assembly.
He said that the protest was to demand for the safe release of their colleague, Dr Inyama Marcus, who was kidnapped on July 18 in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the state.
He said that the association found it necessary to visit the assembly with a view to call on the legislature to intervene in the situation which he described as `worrisome and disturbing’.
“On July 18 2019, one of our colleagues, Dr Marcus was kidnapped on his way to his house. Since then, he has been in the hands of the captives and they are demanding very outrageous sum of money which we know is very difficult for doctors to pay.
“This is the 14th kidnapping on doctors and their dependents across the state within the last four years. We work day and night and we feel that we are not safe in carrying out our responsibility of saving lives.
“If we are not safe, we cannot save lives. People are on call and we cannot go out of our houses to attend to them. So we have to withdraw our services to strengthen the hands of government to do more in providing security.
“As we speak, many people are being kidnapped in Cross River day and night and we believe that the government whose primary responsibility is security and welfare of the people should do more to protect us.
“Cross River is no longer safe for us. We hope that this issue will be taken as a matter of urgent public importance because we want the unconditional release of our colleague,’’ he said.
Ayuk maintained that the strike embarked on in all hospitals across the state would continue until their member is release unharmed.
Responding, the Speaker, Mr Eteng Jonas-Williams, said it was sad for anyone to think of kidnapping a doctor, adding that the act was criminal.
Jonas-Williams said that the matter has already being scheduled to be taken at the floor of the assembly, adding that the house would set machinery in motion to address the issue.
“We need the Permanent Secretary on Security to come and explain to us. Within one week alone, I know of three persons that have been kidnapped within Calabar; this is a very sad development.
“We are with you, we will make sure that something is done urgently because I see no reason why doctors who save lives should be targeted and kidnapped always,’’ he said.
Addressing the doctors at the governor’s office, Prof. Ivara Esu, the state Deputy Governor, said that the state government was concerned and worried about the security of residents in the state.
Esu, who appealed to the association to suspend their strike in the interest of the public, gave assurance that efforts were on to rescue the doctor from captivity.
“As far as this is concerned, we are tracking the situation minute by minute and strategising on what is needed to ensure his safe release,’’ he said.
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