The National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) has called on government and security to protect its members from attacks, killings and abductions across the country.
The President of the association, Mr Abdulrafiu Adeniji, made the appeal at a news conference on Friday in Abuja.
Adeniji condemned the killings, maiming and abduction of his members in the North East by Boko Haram insurgents.
He described the recent murder of Saifura Ahmed, a midwife, and Hauwa Liman, a health worker with ICRC that were abducted in Rann and later killed by their captives as a rude shock.
“The spate of kidnapping, maiming, rapping, dehumanising activities are becoming too much, unfortunately targeted against a group of innocent and peace loving, harbinger of comfort and those who work relentlessly to alleviate suffering and soothing frail nerves.
“The leadership of the association is concerned by the gruesome killings on terrorist ridden areas of North Eastern Nigeria, those who are victims of communal and civil wars even in the North West and North Central,” he lamented.
Adeniji noted that the killings would further worsen the health system in the North East region that was initially poor.
The president however appealed to the federal government to ensure protection of nurse Alice Loksha and other victims still in the custody of the insurgents.
He further urged the insurgents to release Loksha, a mother of two, adding that some of their members captured by the military are taken care of by the nurses and midwives and other medical and healthcare providers.
Adeniji identified nurses and midwives as critical health workers professionally trained to save lives irrespective of political, religious, socio-economic and ideological position and focused in their primary assignment of caring for the sick and wounded.
He emphasised that they are harmless, healthcare providers whose primary assignment is caring.
He emphasised that nurses and other health workers are not part of the fight and therefore not deserving of being murdered on a platform of a theatre of war.
“Nurses and Midwives render selfless service to humanity hence the reason our colleagues who are victims of cross fire in Borno and some other parts of the North East were recruited by the international organisation, International Red Cross, among others.
“It is therefore sad and unacceptable by nurses and midwives in the country that professionals who have the health and well-being of the populace at heart could be made to pay the supreme price of being sacrificed in line of their duty.
“Our hearts go to the family of our colleague, Khorsa, who was murdered some weeks ago while caring for the vulnerable.
She actually became vulnerable and lost her life while providing essential antenatal care to the committee in Rann.
“There is no religious, ideology or law that could justify the condition our colleagues have gone through.
“The situation has put our colleagues in the North East region in jeopardy; therefore make ways for the mass exodus of nurses, midwives and other health workers to leave the region to other parts of the country for safety,’’ he said.
Besides, Adeniji urged the federal government government to compensate families of murdered health workers.
He enjoined all nurses and midwives to wear black bands for three days effective from today (Oct. 19) and as well declared a three days fasting by members across the country to ensure safe return of all nurses and midwives presently in horrible situations of captivity.
“We also appealed and call on operators of acts of terrorism to consider the prayers of Nigerians and international community to have a rethink and end this act,” he said.