Members of the Delta state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), are set to commence a phased strike over the abduction of their colleague, Dr Wisdom Iboyitete, at the General Hospital, Ojobo in Burutu council area, last Monday.
In a statement signed by the NMA state chairman and secretary, Dr Ekeneam Omo and Dr Jude Ugbechie, it was said that the association will commence the strike and a protest walk on Monday, June 8.
The association called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, as well as security operatives in the state to intensify efforts to rescue their colleague.
It further expressed worry over the silence of the state government on the incident, which it described as particularly traumatic for the family and other medical practitioners.
It can be recalled that Dr Iboyitete, a Principal Medical Officer at the General Hospital, was kidnapped midnight Sunday by gunmen pretending to be patients. He was whisked to an unknown destination and the abductors had reportedly demanded for N10 million ransom, but later reduced the sum to N5 million on Wednesday.
It will be noted that the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners (NAGGMDP), in the state, on Thursday declared an indefinite strike as a result of the development.
A statement released reads, “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 on 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, doctors, been kidnapped 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 five 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, patients’ 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 by the security agencies to do the needful to ensure the release of Dr. Iboyitete from the clutches of his kidnappers.”
Reported by: Fatimah Oyesanmi