By Ovie Okpare
Medical doctors in Delta State under the aegis of the National Association of Government General Medical & Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) have declared an indefinite strike over the kidnap of one of their senior colleagues, Dr. Emmanuel Okpako.
Dr. Okpako was said to have been kidnapped last Saturday at Eku Town in the Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state by arms-wielding hoodlums in the presence of his wife.
The victim is the Principal Medical Officer (PMO) of Government Hospital Okerenkoko in Warri South-West Local Government Area of the state.
According to a letter addressed to the Delta State Hospital Management Board and copied to the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and the State Health Commissioner, the aggrieved doctors stated that they had decided to down tools until their colleague regained freedom.
The letter signed by the Delta NAGGMDP’s Chairman and Secretary, Dr. Samuel Oyawiri and Dr. Idiodemise O’tega respectively, directed all medical practitioners in public hospitals to adhere strictly to the directive.
The letter titled ‘Notice of indefinite strike’ read, “I have been directed to inform you that our member Dr. Okpako Emmanuel, Principal Medical Officer (PMO) in Government Hospital Okerenkoko… who was kidnapped on Saturday 27/03/2012 is still being held by his abductors.
“Sequel to the above, I wish to inform you that the branch offices committed (BOC), following an emergency meeting held on the 29/03/2021 at the instance of the Chairman, decided that all NAGGMDP members should DOWN TOOLS indefinitely beginning from 8:00 Hrs 30/032021 until issues bearing on the security of members viz a viz release of Dr. Okpako Emmanuel are resolved as we believe strongly that an injury to one is an injury to all.”
When, however, contacted, Delta NAGGMDP chairman, Dr. Oyawiri, confirmed the abduction of the medical doctor.
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Meanwhile, independent findings by NIGER DELTA TODAY (NDT) Online revealed that the abductors have contacted the family of the victim where they demanded ransom running into several millions of naira.
Recall that gunmen had in June last year also abducted one Dr. Wisdom Iboyitete of Central Hospital, Ojobo, Burutu LGA of the state.
Iboyitete was released a week later after doctors in the state embarked on an indefinite strike with the then victim’s family reportedly paying ransom to secure his release.