The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Cross River State branch, has insisted that its members will continue with their sit-at-home protest until their security was guaranteed.
In a statement by Dr. Ernest Ochang, Public Relations Officer, NMA Cross River, on Saturday in Calabar and made available to our correspondent, the association said all its members that were kidnapped paid ransom before they were released contrary to information by the government to the public.
“Contrary to public perceptions and information bandied around which is anything but correct, no rescue was made. The family of Dr Emem Udoh paid a ransom to the kidnappers. So she was not released unconditionally as demanded by Doctors. Dr Usang Ekanem also paid a ransom.
“Therefore doctors feel there are still not safe as nothing has changed. Doctors feel the kidnappers will likely grab another person once they exhaust their booty,” the statement said.
According to Ochang, the NMA is also irked that at this moment as a Red Cross volunteer, who is a primary school teacher in Akpabuyo, is still in captivity and his captors are demanding ONE million naira ransom.
The NMA accused the Cross River state government of incompetence and lack of understanding of the prevailing situation.
“The NMA also received a letter signed by the Chief Security Adviser to the Governor, Mr Jude Ngaji, which members felt was a clear demonstration of either incompetence or lack of understanding of the prevailing issue.
“For instance, the letter promised to provide a homeland vehicle in front of UCTH. Meanwhile doctors are kidnapped on their way home or in their houses as in the two cases in question.
“It is also appalling that facts revealed by the victims showed that there is hardly any police presence in the hours of 12 to 2 am as at no time where 4 able bodied young men moving in a car at this unholy period stopped.
“In its emergency general meeting, the NMA considered all the issues surrounding the kidnappings, ransom payments and actions or inactions of government and decided its members should still be on lock down to stay safe.”
While regretting the hardship caused by their industrial action, the NMA appealed to all well-meaning Cross Riverians to “join the push to free us from this shackle of fear and destruction.”