Ben Ayade, Cross River State governor, has approved a 24-hour security coverage for medical doctors and other professionals in the state in order to end kidnapping.
According to a statement by the State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji, the approval follows series of meetings with the governor and doctors in the state on how to cur the menace.
Doctors under the aegis of the Nigerian Medical Association in the state had recently gone on strike to protest against the kidnapping of two of their colleagues, Dr. Usang Ekanem and Dr. Emem Udoh, within the space of one week.
Ngaji said governor Ayade ordered increased security at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and other public health institutions in the state.
The state security adviser said security personnels will be responsible for up doctors who are on night duty from their residences.
He noted that the emphasis would be on those residing in vulnerable areas in the state.
Ngaji said, “The governor had a meeting with medical doctors and I also did the same. First, we had to make them understand that it was not as if doctors were being targeted for kidnapping as it was perceived.
“We have some recent cases of doctors being kidnapped. One was the doctor in Akamkpa while the other was the lady who was released after one day. The lady was returning from duty at about 1.30am when she was abducted.
“That same night that she was kidnapped, the security agencies met, took a decision and swung into action. That same night, about 11 persons were arrested for various criminal offences, although not within the Calabar metropolis. We have discovered that we have made the town too hot for them that they have relocated to neighbouring communities.
“What we have done, especially for the doctors, and we intend to do for all corporate organisations, is that the governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has approved a 24-hour security services for doctors in the teaching hospital and other hospitals.
“We now have the responsibility of going out to pick up doctors, especially the ones on duty, no matter how late. We would pay special attention to doctors who live in vulnerable areas.
“So, if a doctor is on duty and has the challenge of leaving where he or she is, the designated security men will go and pick up the doctor and also take him/her back home safely.
“This is a novel idea that we have just introduced and I am sure it is the first of its kind in the country. We are not doing it for doctors alone, other professionals will benefit from it. The Homeland Security personnel that are stationed all over the metropolis will take charge of that.”