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NMA extends strike as kidnappers unleash mayhem in Calabar

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By Joseph Kingston, Calabar

With indiscriminate kidnap of petty traders, lecturers, businessmen, lawyers, medical doctors, market women, journalist and judge’s wife in Calabar in the past few days, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Cross River has vowed not to return to hospitals until the ugly trend is addressed.

The NMA, which kick-started an indefinite strike since November 4, 2020, in anger over incessant kidnap of its members, said yesterday that there was no plan to suspend the strike.

In a communiqué jointly signed by the chairman, Dr Innocent Abang, and the Public Relations Officer, Dr Besong Akotanchi, the association said: “NMA held an emergency general meeting to review the ongoing withdrawal of services, which was declared 15 days ago, following the incessant kidnapping of doctors and other inhabitants of Cross River.

“A detailed and comprehensive update was given by the NMA chairman and the secretary of the strike monitoring team. After robust deliberations on the issues, the congress decided to continue with the ongoing withdrawal of services, until concrete and tangible steps to curb insecurity are seen to be made by the government.

“While this decision to continue with the withdrawal of services may appear painful and insensitive to the public, NMA in Cross River want to state that the rising spate of kidnapping of about 10 more victims since the onset of this strike action further justifies the position of NMA in Cross River.”

The association further said that the state officers committee would continue with its advocacy and would step up pressure on relevant stakeholders until NMA is guaranteed security for members and the people of Cross River.

It stated: “We, hereby, appeal to our members to remain steadfast and committed to this congress decision, as nobody is immune to this devilish act, until decisive measures are put in place by the state government.

“NMA is calling on other professional bodies and Civil Society Organisations to join hands with us and demand for an improved security from the state government for residents of the state.”

Investigations show that kidnap cases are now being reported on daily basis in the ancient city, thereby, sending fears down the spine of many Calabar residents, who are now unsure of who could be the next victim.

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