By George Odok
Members of the Cross River Branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), have threatened indefinite withdraw of their services to members of the public from Jan. 8.
This followed the kidnapped and non release of one its members, Dr Usang Ekanem, who was abducted on Dec. 26, 2017 by gunmen.
Dr Effiong Mkpanam, the state Chairman of NMA, told newsmen after an emergency meeting on Friday in Calabar, that 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 while discharging their legitimate duties of saving lives.
He said that Ekanem, a former Chairman of NMA in the state, was kidnapped on Dec. 26, 2017 by some unidentified men, adding that the state government and security agencies were not doing enough to rescue their colleague.
“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 the kidnappers den for ten days and counting.
“As doctors, we swore an oath to save lives of members of the public who are in need of our skills.
“We have observed with dismay a dangerous trend in which the security and lives of the same doctor is 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 Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Institutional Hospitals, General Hospitals, Mission Hospitals and others to withdraw their services.
“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,“ he said.
The NMA Chairman called on Gov. Ben Ayade and all the relevant security agencies to urgently intervene in the matter.
He further said that the kidnappers had earlier established contact with the family of the victim where they demanded for a ransom of N100 million and later reduced it to N20million.
“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 and all the money in his account has been withdrawn.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the NMA in Cross River will withdraw clinical services without any notice, any time a doctor is kidnapped in future.
“We cannot continue to save the lives of others while ours is not secured’’, he said.
“The NMA regrets any inconveniences this action may cause members of the public and wish to advice law abiding members of the public to seek medical services in neighbouring states of the federation. (NAN)