By Dennis Agbo
The Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, has threatened that industrial action may be taken in Enugu state if the state government and security agencies fail to take immediate proactive measures to safeguard the Medical and Dental Council workers in the state.
The body raised the alarm that no less than 10 of its members had fallen victim to kidnap, particularly from their work places in the past two months, flaying that their lives were no longer guaranteed in the state.
The most recent outcry was the November 4 2023 abduction from the workplace of Dr Orockarrah Orock who was kidnapped inside the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku/Ozalla where he was on call and came out to his car where he was kidnapped and taken through a distant bush path.
The NMA in an Emergency General Meeting (EGM), yesterday, therefore resolved to notify the State Government and all other relevant quarters of authority in the State that the Association will closely monitor the trend and implementation of their resolutions including 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 are not made in good time.”
In a communique authored by the state chairman of NMA, Dr Celestine Ugwoke and General Secretary, Rtn Dr Sunday Okafor, the group said that it discussed the rising and serial cases of Doctor kidnap in the state and the way forward and observed that a situation in which more than ten (10) doctors were victims of kidnapping and other violent crimes in less than 2 months is a dangerous trend unprecedented in the annals of the state.
NMA further observed that there is very minimal and in some cases no presence of strong security formations in most of the public hospitals and also frowned at the dwindling presence of armed patrol teams at critical times and in most areas of the State, making the criminal elements more emboldened to operate with ease, and in the process maiming the livelihoods of members and fellow citizens.
Part of the communique reads: “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 and equally ensure the beefing up of the presence and operations of armed security patrol teams across the State.
“Unanimously resolved to request the State Government to as a matter of utmost priority rejig and revamp the current security architecture of the State 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 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 etc or in the alternative provide a to and fro Ambulance escort for them to be able to perform their duties.
“The EGM also 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 peculiarities as the case may be.
“The EGM finally resolved to notify the State Government and all other relevant quarters of authority in the State that the Association will closely monitor the trend and implementation of these resolutions including 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 are not made in good time.”