Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Cross River State Chapter, has declared an indefinite strike as a protest against the kidnap of one of their colleagues, Dr Vivien Otu.
Mrs Otu, a Senior Registrar in the department of Paediatrics, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), was kidnapped on Friday last week around Marian market axis when she went for a wake keep of one of their relations.
Addressing journalists in front of Governor’s office on Tuesday in Calabar, NMA Cross River Chairman, Dr Innocent Abang, bemoaned the deteriorating security situation in the state and demanded for immediate release of their member.
‘Recently, the security situation in the state as a whole has deteroriated and is fast becoming irredeemable.This is evident by the recurrent incidents of kidnapping within Calabar and it’s environs. Currently ,this is the sixteenth (176) medical doctor and dependent(s) kidnapped so far.
‘NMA-CRS has already proceeded on a total and indefinite withdrawal of medical services in both private, public and Institutional hospitals in the state. We are not unmindful of the impact of the strike to the good people of Cross River.
‘However, we cannot continue to save lives while ours and that of other law abiding citizens are under constant threat by armed bandits and kidnappers ,the total strike will continue until our colleague is released safely and unconditionally.
‘We call on Governor Ben Ayade to immediately give directives for mobilisation of human and material resources to effectively curtail the increasing spate of insecurity within the state. It is high time House of Assembly impressed it on the governor to accent without further delay the anti-kidnapping bill which has already been passed by the House,’ he stated.
Also speaking, the President Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Cross River State chapter, Dr Bassey Nakanda, said: ‘I am sad, heartbroken and depressed. All the medical women are heartbroken I cannot imagine what has happened to my sister.
‘This is the fifth day she has been in incasseration. Honestly, we need her out immediately. You need to go to her house and see the children crying and asking for their mother.
‘She has been caring for other people’s children as a paediatrician and ensure other people’s children survive; this is a doctor that would pull out her money to buy drugs for helpless children, today that is the reward she gets for saving lives in Cross River State. The reward is for her to be kidnapped and tormented.’
Reacting, the State Securoty Adviser to the Governor, Southern Senatorial District, Mr Ani Essien, said they received a distress call last Friday over the kidnap of one of their colleagues and are aware of your plight.
Ani said: ‘It is an unfortunate situation that once again a doctor has been kidnapped. It is something that we tried to avoid, but it has happened. What we have to do now is to make sure that this doctor, Mrs Vivien Otu, is released with immediate effect without any charge.
‘We have been working round the clock since this happened. We have all the information as to the locations and what is happening, which we cannot say it here. We are close to your colleague. I can assure you that just as you have said that she must be released safely.
‘The Governor is aware of it and has mandated that nobody sleeps until doctor Otu is returned to her colleagues.’