Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River Deputy Governor, Prof Ivara Esu, has stated that embarking on street protests against incessant kidnappings in the state is not a solution to the problem.
The Cross River State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have laid down their tools over the abduction of one of their colleagues, Dr Marcus Inyama.
Dr Inyama, a consultant Hematologist, was abducted six days ago at his home in Akpabuyo, leading to the public protest and demand for his unconditional release.
The protesting doctors took their protest to the State House of Assembly and the Governor’s Office in Calabar.
Addressing the protesters at the premises of the Governor’s Office, Prof. Esu said the action by the doctors has had an adverse effect on people in the state and may cause the kidnappers to increase the ransom.
“These pronouncements and demonstration have not helped us. It has not helped us for you to withdraw your services from the various hospitals because, unfortunately, more important persons than those kidnappers may be involved and may die. Some persons may already have passed on account of not being attended to,” the deputy governor said.
“The truth is that government is just as concerned, if not more concerned, as the Association. Today it’s a medical doctor and tomorrow it may be a very top politician; everybody is equally important and, therefore, let it not look as if government has not done much for a particular group.
“Nobody thought this kind of thing will happen; however, it has happened and when it happened we promptly went into action. We are monitoring the movement of your colleague from minute to minute, where he is, who they [the abductors] are, and so on.”
He advised the striking doctors to back off their action as the state government does everything in its power to solve the problem.
Also addressing the protesters at the State House of Assembly, the Speaker, Hon. Eteng Jonas, said the Assembly empathised with the doctors and pledged that the it will take up the issue during plenary under matters of urgent public importance and reactivate the state anti-kidnapping bill.
Eteng said: “It’s sad for anybody to even go to the extent of taking a doctor that saves lives. It’s criminal. When we sit today, we will take up the matter of insecurity under matter of public interest, because in the past one week I have known of three people who have been kidnapped and it’s a very sad development.
“On the anti-kidnapping bill, I ask the Deputy Speaker to trace it and if they have not gazetted it, we will do it again and take action because other states cannot be better than us and this is because we have not seen that bill being put into effect,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the State Chairman of the NMA, Dr Agam Ayuk, said the spate of abduction of doctors in the state is alarming, lamenting that doctors are not safe to carry out their duties.
He noted that there have been fourteen incidences of abduction of doctors and their families within the past four years, saying that if doctors are not safe to carry out their duties, they can also not save lives.