Doctors in Cross River State, who took to the streets of Calabar, the state capital yesterday to protest against the kidnap of a pediatrician at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Dr. Vivien Otu, blocked the entrance to the office of the state governor.
The pediatrician was kidnapped by gunmen on Friday night last week around Marian area of Calabar.
The doctors carried placards with various inscriptions such as ‘Kidnapping is an act of terrorism’, ‘Make Cross River safe again’, ‘Cross River is not a den for kidnappers’, and ‘Let’s stamp out kidnapping’ among others.
They marched through the streets and blocked the governor’s office gate after they visited the state House of Assembly where the Speaker, Hon Eteng Williams, assured them of improved security in the state.
Speaking at the Governor’s Office gate, the state Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Innocent Abang, said, “We have come to present our grievances to the governor because of the incessant kidnap of our colleagues and how we have become an endangered species in Cross River State. We pay tax in this state and we are protecting lives and saving lives. So, we want to tell the government to please protect our land and give us the privilege to save lives.
“The State Security Adviser, who is standing in for the Governor who is not around, should brief us how far they have gone, to assure us that our colleague is safe and will be released to us today. We don’t want it beyond today. We want Cross River State to be safe from kidnapping. Other states are doing well now. We can also do well.”
Addressing the doctors on behalf of the governor, the State Security Adviser South, Ani Esin, said: “We have been working round the clock since this happened and right now I can say that we are on top of this situation. The governor is also aware of it and has given us the marching mandate that nobody sleeps until Mrs Otu is returned to her colleagues.”
The Chairman, Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, Cross River State chapter, Dr. Bassey Nakanda, said, “I am sad, I am heartbroken and depressed. All medical women are heartbroken. Honestly, you need to go to her house and see the children crying, asking after their mother.”