Doctors down tools in Cross River over kidnap of colleague

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Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Cross River State branch, has commenced indefinite strike to protest the kidnap of its member, Dr. Vivien Mesembe.

Briefing newsmen at the Ernest Etim Bassey Press Centre in Calabar yesterday, after its August 29 emergency meeting, the NMA led by its chairman, Dr. Innocent Abang, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security in the state and order the mobilisation of resources to curtail the increasing spate of insecurity.

The doctors said: “For the past two to three years, over 13 doctors have been kidnapped in the state, and the NMA is not unmindful of the impact of withdrawal of medical services on 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. The total and indefinite withdrawal of services will continue until our colleague is released safely and unconditionally.”

Accordingly, they called on the state government and security operatives to expedite action and ensure the unconditional release of their colleague and others held captive by kidnappers.

Calling on Governor Ben Ayade, as the chief security officer of the state, to ensure the security of life and property, they also urged the House of Assembly to impress it on the governor to assent, without further delay, the Anti Kidnapping Bill, which has already been passed by the house.

The NMA chairman told newsmen that the huge security votes were fully paid, adding: “We don’t even have as much budget on medicals as we do on security. So we don’t see how the management would take up the responsibility.”

He expressed concern over brain drain in the health sector and feared that more practitioners would leave the country due to government’s insensitivity.

“We’re going to have more of them. In a country where you don’t have security, in a country where you’re not properly remunerated, we’re losing them every day. As I speak, many are leaving. What is even keeping few is that the international flights are not open,” he added.

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