Doctors in Cross River State have raised concern about their safety, citing security authorities’ failure to free Prof Ekanem Ephraim, 64, of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, who was kidnapped while attending to patients 20 days ago.
Speaking to a DAILY POST correspondent, they decried the state’s insecurity and wondered if the administration intended the few of them that remained to exit the nation.
The physicians had overcome the torrential rain in Calabar and marched to the streets on Tuesday to raise attention to their plights.
They have committed to demonstrate daily and to occupy government offices in order to put pressure on the administration to realize why they must be proactive in order to protect lives and property.
“We can say that we are already missing Ayade,” one of the protesting doctors, identified as Dr. Ebri, stated. In this type of situation, he was quite responsive.
“It has been 20 days since the kidnapping of our senior colleague, a mother. Can you fathom the anguish and ordeals she is currently experiencing in those woodlands, assuming she is still alive?
“Each of us is concerned about our safety. We have no idea who will be snatched next.
“We want to emphasize that this protest will be ongoing on a daily basis.” We will even occupy the State House of Assembly or other government offices to bring government attention to the need to strengthen security not only for ourselves but also for the broader public.”
Another doctor claimed, “We suspect some powerful hands may be supporting this kidnapping enterprise.” However, it is a nightmare for us.”
Dr. Felix Archibong, Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association in the state, appealed to the authorities to intervene and rescue Prof Ekanem Ephraim, adding they have been sleepless and worried.
In a letter to Governor Bassey Otu, Archibong stated that the doctors were extremely upset by the kidnapping of their colleagues.
“The abduction of Prof Ekanem Philip-Ephraim has deeply shaken the medical community, and we stand in solidarity with her family during this difficult time.”
“The Cross River State Nigerian Medical Association requests your assistance in ensuring the safety and security of all doctors.” We also urge that our kidnapped colleague be released as soon as possible.
“Furthermore, we urge you to request that the Inspector General of Police deploy a crack team to provide an immediate solution to the menace of kidnapping in our state.”
“A robust security outfit similar to Operation Akpakwu should be established immediately to strengthen efforts in curbing criminal activities, including kidnapping, in the state.” These preventative actions will serve to protect citizens’ lives and property while also instilling trust in the people of Cross River State.
“We also request your immediate intervention in the assent and implementation of the Cross River State anti-kidnapping law.” This Act will serve as a strong deterrence to offenders of such horrible acts while also providing justice to victims and their families.
“Your Excellency, we believe your distinguished leadership can make a significant difference in addressing the current security challenge.” “We are confident that you will take decisive action to prioritize citizen safety and protect the invaluable contributions of professionals such as Prof. Ekanem Philip-Ephraim,” the letter said.
The state’s deputy governor, Peter Odey, and the state Assembly’s Speaker, Elvert Ayambem, have informed the doctors that the state administration is not sleeping over the terrible situation.
“I want to appeal to you to be more patient,” Odey remarked. The government and security agencies are on top of things.
“We completely understand your anguish, especially our dear mother, who is your colleague.” It’s also incredibly emotional for us.
“Security is a top priority for this government.”
The Speaker, for his part, praised the doctors for their nonviolent protest, stating it was within their rights to do so. He appealed for calm, telling everyone that Prof Ephraim will be released soon.