…Carpets Delta Govt. Silence
By Ovie Okpare
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has directed its members to withdraw medical services across Delta State beginning Monday June 8, 2020 over the kidnap of a medical doctor, Dr Wisdom Iboyitete, at the General Hospital, Ojobo in Burutu Local Government Area of the state.
NMA, while condemning the abduction of the medical doctor, lamented that its members have become endanger species in the hands of criminal elements across the state.
The association in a statement signed by its state chairman, Dr. Ekeneam Omo and secretary, Dr Jude Ugbechie, called on the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and security agencies in the state to intensify efforts to ensure their abducted colleague regains freedom.
Dr. Iboyitete, a Principal Medical Officer at the General Hospital, was kidnapped in the earlier hours of Monday by arms-wielding gunmen at the hospital premises before whisking him to unknown destination.
NIGER DELTA TODAY Online reports that his abductors had reportedly demanded N10 million ransom but later reduced the ransom price to N5 million on Wednesday.
The kidnappers had pretended to be patients seeking medical help at the time they struck.
The National Association of Government General Medical aand Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP), association medical practitioners in government hospitals in the state, had already declared indefinite strike.
The Delta NMA in the statement, however, lampooned the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration over its silent since the medical doctor was abducted from his place of work.
According to the statement, “In the early hours of Monday the 1st of June 2020, we received the sad news of the kidnap of our colleague Dr Wisdom Iboyitete at his workplace, General Hospital Ojobo in Burutu LGA, Delta state. He was abducted in the line of duty when he heeded an emergency call to attend to a patient, not knowing that the so called patients he rushed down to attend to were kidnappers.
“We have had countless cases of kidnap of doctors in the past but for them to now come in the guise of being patients in need of emergency care in the wee hours of the night is to say the least the height of desecration of the noble profession by taking advantage of our humane disposition to duty. How will we answer to emergency calls at night when kidnappers now pose as patients?
“The events of the last 5 days have been very traumatic for us and to the immediate family in particular. The silence of the State Government, the Ministry of Health and the Hospitals Management Board since the incident occurred is worrisome.
“This unfortunate incident has brought to the fore once again the need for Government to provide adequate security in our hospitals. In addition to kidnapping, we have had incessant cases of harassment and assault of Healthcare workers by patients, patient’s relatives and host communities within the hospital premises while discharging their duties.
“We have observed with keen interest the resolve of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP) to withdraw their services indefinitely until our colleague is released unconditionally. We wish to state that this is in congruence with the provisions of the Physicians oath we swore to, which enjoined every doctor to attend to their own health, well being and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard.
“As an association, the welfare and security of our members remain sacrosanct. We therefore wish to express our total support of the actions taken so far by the doctors in state hospitals to draw the attention of the State Government, Ministry of Health, the Hospitals Management Board as well as the security agencies of the need to speed up efforts to secure the release of our colleague from captivity unhurt and improve on the security within the hospitals to forestall a reoccurrence of such unfortunate incident.
“The Delta State NMA is currently mobilising her members to commence phased withdrawal of service and peaceful protest walk from Monday 8th of June 2020.
“We are however optimistic that His Excellency will prevail on the security agencies to do the needful to ensure the release of Dr Iboyitete from the clutches of his kidnappers.”