Doctors threaten strike in Cross River over kidnap of member


The Cross River State Branch of the Nigeria Medical Association has threatened an indefinite withdrawal of services to members of the public starting from Monday, January 8, 2018.

This was sequel to the kidnap of one its members, Dr. Usang Ekanem, on December 26, 2017 by gunmen and have yet to release him.

Rising from an emergency meeting on Friday in Calabar, the state Chairman of NMA, Dr. Effiong Mkpanam, said members of the association had suffered series of abduction from kidnappers.

Mkpanam, who expressed dissatisfaction with the trend, said that the attacks were frequently perpetrated on their colleagues who were discharging their legitimate duties of saving lives.

According to him, Ekanem, who was a former state chairman of NMA, was kidnapped by some unidentified men.

He said that the state government and security agencies were not doing enough to rescue their colleague.

Mkpanam said, “As we address you today, it is with grief that we make public the fact that a very senior medical practitioner and one time chairman of NMA has been in kidnappers’ den for ten days.

“As doctors, we swore an oath to save lives of members of the public who are in need of our services. We have observed with dismay a dangerous trend in which the security and lives of doctors are being threatened by some disgruntled members of the society.

“The NMA in Cross River hereby instructs all its members, both in public and private medical facilities, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, institutional hospitals, general hospitals, mission hospitals and others thus:

“They are to observe a total and indefinite withdrawal of services to members of the public until such a time that our colleague is safely released by his captors and measures taken to forestall future occurrences.

“It is noteworthy that in 2017, within Calabar alone, five doctors and three of their dependants and family members were kidnapped at various locations.”

The NMA chairman called on Governor Ben Ayade and all relevant security agencies to urgently intervene in the matter.

He said that the kidnappers had earlier established contact with the family of the victim and had demanded a ransom of N100m, which was later reduced to N20m.

“How much is the salary of a doctor monthly that he should pay such a ransom? From what we heard from the family; the victim was with his ATM cards when he was kidnapped. All the money in his account has been withdrawn,” he said.