By Patrick Obia
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Cross River State chapter have staged a peace protest calling for the unconditional release of their colleague, Professor Ekanem Phillip Ephraim who was kidnapped from her residence at about 7:15 pm on Thursday 13 July 2023 along the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries, Atimbo by unknown gunmen.
The Doctors down tools in all hospitals across the State calling for the release of the medical doctor.
And on Tuesday, August 1, 2023, under the rain, they staged a peaceful protest which started from the General Hospital, en route to Cross River State House of Assembly and the Presidential Lodge.
At the House of Assembly, doors were shut against them into the Chambers.
Speaking with CrossRiverWatch, the NMA Chairman in the State, Dr. Felix Archibong said doctors in the State can no longer withstand the trauma.
“We are embarking on this protest to call on Governor Bassey Otu and the security agents to do their constitutional right to protect the lives and properties of the citizens.
“It has been on the news this is the 19th day that a female doctor and colleague – Professor Ekanem Phillip Ephriam was kidnapped; we reached out to the Governor and the security agencies but up to 19 days now, we have not heard from the Government; to us, they are not working even if they are working. We want them to do something because we believe they can and it is possible.
“We are pressing on because we have States like Akwa Ibom and Rivers where kidnapping was the heat of the day and today we no longer hear such and we believe it took the political will to curb that menace. That is why we are crying out. Though it is raining it can not stop us because we are aggrieved.”
14 Medical Doctors Kidnapped In The State
Dr. Felix said it is 19 days since the Neurologist and Consultant at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) – Prof. Ekanem was whisked away.
He disclosed that doctors in Cross River are mentally unstable at the moment as they live in grief.
“Mentally we are not stable; for 19 days it is not easy, some of us can’t sleep; we are wondering for a woman to be in the hands of kidnappers and the Government is quite worrisome.
“We can not work, to treat human being needs stable mind and we can not pretend.
“This is the 14th Doctor that has been kidnapped in Cross River State. We are planning that after today’s protest every morning we will go to Government House to continue to cry until our colleague is released.”
The NMA said they will not relent in the demonstration until their colleague is released unharmed; praying Governor Otu, security agencies as well as Cross Riverians join hands for the Professor’s release.
“Cross Riverians should show us they appreciate our services, we are taking the pains to protest. This is not the time for Cross Riverians to blame us for withdrawing services, these kidnappers live amongst them, what have they done; they should join forces and push. Every Doctor in Cross River State at the moment is sick, we need help.”
At the time of filing this report, the protesting doctors after agitations, the Speaker Honorable Elvert Ayambem addressed them saying the Assembly will play their part for her safe release.