Medical doctors in Cross River state, southern Nigeria have embarked on indefinite strike for the kidnap of one of their colleague, Dr. Vivien Otu, a paediatrician, in Calabar, the State capital.
The medical doctors, who also protested the incident by engaging in a street march and carried placards, went to the State House of Assembly and Governor’s office in Calabar to meet with the authorities.
The State Security Adviser South, Mr. Ani Esin, who spoke on behalf of Governor Ben Ayade, empathized with the physicians and the family of the victim, stating that security agencies will work hard to secure the release of Dr. Otu.
Esin said “we are aware of your plight. We received a distress call about your colleague, who was kidnapped on Friday evening and quickly swung into action. It is an unfortunate situation that once again a medical doctor has been kidnapped. It is something we tried to avoid, but it has happened”.
“What we have to do now is to make sure that this doctor, Mrs Vivien Otu, is released with immediate effect without any charge. We have been working round the clock since this happened and right now, I can say that we are on top of this situation”, he added.
According to him, security agencies, like the Nigeria Police Force and Department of State Services were closing in on the kidnappers, stressing that certain information needed to be kept from public knowledge.
“We are close to your colleague. I can assure you that just as you have said that she must be released, we stand by you on that. We are going to do everything in our power to make sure that she is returned to you safe, sound and hearty”, Esin said.
The Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Innocent Abang, condemned the incessant kidnapping of their colleagues and other people in Cross River State.
“We are here to make our grievances to the governor because of the incessant kidnap of our colleagues and how we have become endangered species. We pay taxes in this state and we are protecting and saving lives too. So, we want to appeal to the governor to protect our lives and give us the opportunity to save lives like we ought to do”, he said.
Also speaking, Chairman, Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Cross River State chapter, Dr. Bassey Nakanda, in an emotion laden voice said, “I am sad, I am heartbroken and depressed. I cannot imagine what has happened to my sister for the past four days. This is the fifth day she has been in captivity”.
“All medical women are heartbroken. But, honestly we need her out. Her children have been crying, asking after their mother. She has been caring for other people’s children; she is a paediatrician. This is a doctor that would use her money to buy drugs for helpless children, today that is the reward she gets for saving lives in Cross River state”, she added.
In August, the wife of a federal judge was kidnapped and her personal assistant killed in the process, while more than 20 people including Dr. Vivien Otu have also been kidnapped in Calabar.