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Ijaw Youth Council, Civil Society Groups In Solidarity Protest Against Incessant Kidnap Of Medical Doctors In Rivers State

By Anderson Hart
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The Ijaw Youth Council, (IYC) Worldwide Thursday took to the street of Port Harcourt protesting the incessant kidnapping and killing of doctors and others in the state.

In a protest it organized in solidarity with the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, other civil society groups like Development Network, International Human Rights Protection Initiative, Niger Delta Peace Forum, Umbilical Cord of the Nation and Niger Delta Sisters Development Forum were some of the groups that participated in the protest march that took off from GRA junction in Aba road and terminated at the Braithwaithe Memorial Special Hospital where the National Secretary General of IYC, Engr. Emmanuel Bristol Alagbariya, the Rivers state Chairman of NMA, Dr. Furo Green, Chief Medical Director of Rivers State Hospitals Management Board, Dr. Okere Nicholas Iragunima among others spoke extensively against the social crime.

In their various presentations there was staked consensus that the incessant kidnapping and killing of Medical doctors is not only a horrifying experience but is one that is posing a serious threat to both medical practitioners and the ailing patients alike in the state.

In his remark National Secretary General of IYC, Engr. Emmanuel Bristol Alagbariya noted that the body is highly embarrassed at the spate of doctors kidnap saying these are professionals mandated to save lives. He lamented at situations where Doctors now pull out stickers from their personal cars, put on helmet and company coveralls just to disguise themselves from being identified as doctors, adding that this poses a sort of psychological trauma to them.” Doctors need a stable state of emotion to perform their duties; regrettably the situation at hand goes beyond emotions but is one that even threatens their very existence as human” he opined.

The IYC Secretary General noted that as concerned citizens and youth advocacy group, they cannot continue to fold their hands and watch the dastardly act persist. Hence the group decided to come out en masse in collaboration with the Nigerian press who has helped in no small measure in projecting this cause and condemning the crime; including the deluge of Civil society groups who has shown their solidarity, jointly they have come out to say no to this recurrent and persistent travail and to condemn it in its entirety saying Doctors should be left alone to continue their job of saving lives.

He use the occasion to remind youths that the occasion of the election has provided an ample opportunity for them to choose carefully who to vote, especially to enthrone individuals that will be sincere towards the yearnings and aspirations of the youths to curb such social vices.

The chairman of Rivers state Medical Association, Dr. Furo Green in his remark revealed that four medical doctors had also received kidnap threats from unknown persons, adding that medical practitioners were no longer safe to practice in the state. He thanked the ijaw Youth Council, the press and civil society groups for feeling the pain Doctors are going through and the decision to come out en masse to carry out this solidarity protest for the Doctors.

He called on security operatives to up their game and maintain strict surveillance around hospitals to stall further kidnap and killing of doctors.

The Chief Medical Director of Rivers State Hospitals Management Board, Dr. Okere Nicholas Iragunima on behalf of the Rivers State Hospitals Management Board and the entire directors expressed gratitude to the IYC, Press and the civil society groups among others for the unflinching solidarity march and show of concern.

He lamented that doctors and medical staffs are now the major targets as the case of Emohua proved., This according to him makes the situation more complicated because doctors are not the only ones at risk, nurses and medical staff and patients are all affected. He said if Doctors are not safe, how can they work, saying in such situation many who ordinarily would have been saved will die.

Dr. Iragunima commended the spirit support saying “today we are happy that Nigerians who are not directly affected had filed out in solidarity with us to fight this scourge”. He condemned kidnapping in the entirety lamenting the irony of life “saying during war people run to the hospitals but amazingly in this time of peace doctors are running away from hospitals. We call those who are using it as another form of slave trade to stop forthwith and save the live of patients in dare need of Doctors care..

He called on the federal Government to make haste so as to nip the security problem in the bud as no one can work under such situation of fear. “If the situation persist there will be anger and anarchy in the land, hence we call on all relevant authority to galvanize effort to ensure that the menace of kidnapping is brought to an abrupt halt.

Other civil society groups that partook in the solidity march also lend their voices in condemnation of the kidnap and killing of medical doctors.