10 doctors kidnapped within 2 months in Enugu – NMA

By Stanley Nwanosike

 The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Enugu State branch, says more than 10 doctors were victims of kidnapping and other violent crimes in less than two months in Enugu State.

This is contained in a communiqué issued on Friday in Enugu at the end of an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) of the NMA, Enugu State branch, held on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023, at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu.

The communique was jointly signed by the Chairman of NMA Enugu State, Dr Celestine Ugwoke, and the General Secretary, Dr Sunday Okafor.

The statement said that the EGM equally observed that a situation in which more than10 doctors were victims of kidnapping and other violent crimes in less than two months is a dangerous trend unprecedented in the annals of Enugu State.

The communique, which has been copied to various government offices and security agencies, noted that the recent development called for a serious concern, drastic and decisive action(s).

According to the statement, the EGM is well aware of the general insecurity in the country and painfully observed the spate of kidnappings in the state, most of which Medical and Dental Practitioners have unfortunately been worst hit.

It said that the EGM regrettably observed that there is very minimal and in some cases no presence of strong security formations in most of our public hospitals as well as dwindling presence of armed patrol teams at critical times and in most areas of the state.

The statement noted that the porous security arrangement had made the criminal elements more emboldened to operate with ease, and in the process maiming the livelihoods of our members and fellow citizens.

“The EGM further observed that the rising insecurity in the state is becoming an added burden to the already-stretched healthcare facilities available in Enugu State and the safety of our patriotic doctors, who should care for the victims of these violent crimes, is no longer guaranteed which is very worrisome.

“The EGM, while noting the efforts and commitment of the State Government in the area of security infrastructure, observed the gross inadequacy of the necessary security architecture and installations required to safeguard a vast and strategic state like Enugu State with its peculiarity as the capital of the old Eastern Region of Nigeria.

“The EGM finally observed, with condemnation and regrets, that the NMA is yet to receive any report from the relevant security agencies on full-scale conclusive investigations/inquiries into these kidnap cases and none of these enemies of the state have been brought to book yet,” it said.

The NMA members that attended the EGM, however, came out with seven resolutions to bring solutions to the negative and unprecedented development.

The statement said: “First, the EGM strongly resolved to call on the Enugu State Government to, as a matter of urgency, ensure that all our public hospitals are well and heavily guarded by armed security personnel.

“The government should equally ensure the beefing up of the presence and operations of armed security patrol teams across the state.

“Secondly, the EGM unanimously resolved to request the State Government to, as a matter of utmost priority, rejig and totally revamp the current security architecture of the state.

“The rejigging should be done through adequate funding for security, installations of modern technologies and security gadgets among other innovative security measures that would speedily help bring this ugly situation to a halt.

“The EGM also resolved to call on all the security agencies in the State to live up to their biddings/obligations, scale up operations and ensure that the current trend is radically aborted and culprits brought to justice.”

It said that the EGM further resolved to mandate the management of the various health institutions in the state to either ensure that Medical/Dental consultants on hospital calls are provided with decent call rooms, meals and other facilities or in the alternative provide a to-and-fro Ambulance escort for them to be able to perform their duties.

According to the statement, the EGM resolved to unequivocally charge all health institutions in the state to, as a matter of urgency, set up a Security Committee meeting, adopt and adapt the UNTH template currently being implemented while also factoring in their own peculiarities as the case may be.

“The EGM further resolved to officially communicate all relevant security agencies in the state on the need for better collaboration and synergy by embarking on security sensitization tours across the major health institutions in the state, while also ensuring that their operations and presence are well felt in these places.

“The EGM finally resolved to notify the State Government and all other relevant authorities in the State that the Association will closely monitor the trend and implementation of these resolutions.

“These included the earlier advanced protest letters and may not be able to guarantee industrial harmony in the entire Health sector of the State if reasonable progress is not made in good time,” it added. (NAN)