NMA National Gives Cross River Government 7 Days To Secure Kidnapped Doctor’s Release Or Face Severe Actions
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NMA National Gives Cross River Government 7 Days To Secure Kidnapped Doctor’s Release Or Face Severe Actions

By Patrick Obia

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National has given the Government of Cross River State a seven days ultimatum to secure a safe release of kidnapped medical Doctor, Professor Ekanem Phillip-Ephriam, or face severe national actions.

The National NMA President Dr. Uche. R Ojinmah stated this on Saturday, August 12, 2023, in a press conference held in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

The President in the company of the State NMA Chairman – Dr. Felix Archibong; past Chairman – Dr. Ofem Enang; Public Relations Officer – Dr. Esuaiko Akaninyene expressed displeasure that doctors are being targeted and the State, a recurring decimal in the equation of kidnapping in the country.

“It is saddening that while many Nigerian doctors are running away, people like Professor Ephraim stayed back to serve Nigerians and she stays in Cross River to serve the people and the gratitude that has been given to her is to kidnap her.

“Cross River State is a recurring decimal in the equation of kidnapping in this country and specifically targeting doctors; what is so special about someone that wants to help you to live longer being picked up and sometimes psychologically destroyed or even losing their lives. Why this type of gratitude from the people of Cross River State?”

The Association said if at the end of the seven days, their colleague is not released, there will be a total shutdown against Cross River State.

“The Nigerian Medical Association has decided to come in at the national level to make one thing clear; we will not accept anything but the return of Professor Philip Ephraim. We have had interaction with the State government and we have made it clear that if at the end of next week we do not get results, we will take a tougher stance because we have watched Cross River State for some years now continue to mistreat medical doctors. Doctors are being targeted in this State.

“If it does not stop there will be a national action that will have the Cross River State at the epicenter of it; we will have to withdraw everybody so that those people that like kidnapping will have to treat the people of Cross River State; enough is enough.

“We need proof of life within the next one week whether she is back to us or talks to us, it must happen. If it does not happen, in two weeks we have the National Executive Council meeting where the whole doctors will take a decision on Cross River State.”

The body called on the Nigerian Police Force, Cross River State Command to swim into action rather than waste time responding to the NMA.

“We call on the Cross River State Government to take proactive measures to protect its citizens, not only doctors. There are things that could be done and have been done in several places to stem this tide of ravaging insecurity that has become a second name to Cross River.

“I wish the police would focus more on bringing back the abducted person and stop responding to the NMA; the way you bring down criticism is to produce results.”

Recall that the NMA Cross River State chapter a few days passed a vote of no confidence on the Commissioner of Police, Cross River State – CP Gyogo Augustine Grimah for the little progress made to secure Prof. Ekanem’s release.

However, the Police in a press release issued by its spokesperson described the vote of no confidence as “a misguided allegation“. 

The Story

Professor Ekanem Phillip Ephraim, a Neurologist and Consultant at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) 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.

On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, under the rain, the Doctors after they had down tools in all public and private hospitals across the State, staged a peaceful protest which started from the General Hospital, en route to Cross River State House of Assembly and the Governor’s Office, Calabar.

The State NMA Chairman during the protest said: “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 beings needs a stable mind and we can not pretend,” disclosing that 14 medical doctors have been kidnapped since the surge a few years ago.

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