Not less than eight doctors, as well as six of their dependents, have been kidnapped at various times in Cross River State in the past four years, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) says.
State chairman of the Association, Dr Agam Ayuk, who disclosed when he led a peaceful protest to the House of Assembly and governor’s office in Calabar Wednesday, demanded the safe release of their colleague, Dr Inyama Marcus, who was kidnapped last Thursday in Akpabuyo local government area of the state.
He said the visited the Assembly with a view to calling 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 captive and they are demanding a very outrageous sum of money which we know is very difficult for doctors to pay.
“This is the 14 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 our responsibility of saving lives.
“And 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 been 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.
He maintained that the strike action embarked upon in all hospitals across the state would continue until their member is released unharmed.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr. Eteng Jonah-Williams, described the situation as sad, said the matter has already been scheduled to be addressed on the floor of the House.
“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, the deputy governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, said that the state government was concerned about the security of residents.