Wednesday, January 13, 2016 2:52 pm
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Doctors in southern Nigerian state of Rivers have threatened to down tools after two of their colleagues were abducted within two days.
Dr Mrs I.B. Apriokor, an Ophthalmologist with the Braithwaite Special Memorial Hospital Port Harcourt was the first to be kidnapped by gunmen. She was ambushed on her way to church on Sunday, along with her children. The abductors abandoned the children in the car.
Then followed Dr Isaac Opurum, who also was abducted from his home in Port Harcourt. Opurum, is the Director, Community House Services, Rivers State Primary Healthcare Board.
Agitated by the abductions, members of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, have threatened to withdraw their services if nothing was done to free the abducted within 48 hours.
The Rivers State Branch of Medical and Dental Consultant Association has also condemned the abduction of their colleagues.
The Public Relations Officer of the Medical and Dental Consultant Association,Dr. Alali Dan Jumbo, who spoke after Mrs Apriokor was abducted called for her immediate and unconditional release.
Dr. Alali Dan Jumbo also regretted the continuous abduction of medical doctors by unknown gunmen in Rivers State is as worrisome.
Medical Doctors are wondering why they are targets of kidnapers in recent times by unknown gunmen.
“This very sad because we are civil servants even if we answer the name; Doctors. The title gives you a high profile but we are basically Civil servants. And I don’t see any financial gain from kidnapping a Doctor. It is so traumatic on her family, colleagues and Patients. We are feeling very bad right now.”Dr Jumbo said.
Dr Furo Green,the Chairman of Rivers branch of NMA said 21 of its members were kidnapped in 2015. He said doctors were afraid to report to work because they have become targets.
The NMA said families of the victims who paid ransoms before they were released, have not been able to offset the monies borrowed a year after.
He threatened that if the two Doctors were not released unconditionally within 48 hours Doctors under the employ of the State Government would be forced to stop work and search for their kidnapped colleagues.
The Rivers State Government which incidentally has a Medical Doctor as Deputy Governor, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Banigo, has not reacted to the 48 hour ultimatum by the doctors.