Wednesday , 14 April 2021
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Two doctors kidnapped in 48 hours in Rivers

Less than 48 hours after Dr Mrs I.B. Apriokor, an Ophthalmologist with the Braithwaite Special Memorial Hospital, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital in southern Nigeria, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen, another medical doctor, Dr Isaac Opurum, has been abducted from his home in Port Harcourt.

Dr. Opurum, who is the Director, Community House Services, Rivers State Primary Healthcare Board, was abducted at about 3am at his residence in Port Harcourt on Tuesdayby gunmen.

Frustrated by the abduction of two colleagues within 48 hours, members of the Rivers branch of Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, have threatened to withdraw their services if nothing is done to free their abducted colleagues within 48 hours.

Dr Apriokor was kidnapped on Sunday, 10 January on her way to church in Port Harcourt.

When Dr. Apriokor who works with the state-owned Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, BMSP, was kidnapped on Sunday, her children were said to have been abandoned in the vehicle.‎

The Rivers State Branch of Medical and Dental Consultants Association in state government owned hospitals had condemned the abduction of Dr. Apriokor in a statement issued Tuesday.

The Public Relations Officer of the association, Dr. Alali Dan Jumbo, called for the immediate and unconditional release of the kidnapped medical doctor.

Jumbo also regretted the continuous abduction of medical doctors by unidentified gunmen in Rivers State, describing the trend as worrisome.

Medical Doctors are wondering why they are targets of kidnapers in recent times.

“This is very sad because we are civil servants even if we answer the name doctors. The title gives you a high profile but we are basically civil servants. And I don’t see any financial gain from kidnapping a doctor. It is so traumatic on her family, colleagues and patients. We are feeling very bad right now,” Jumbo said.

The State Chairman of NMA, Dr. Furo Green, while reacting to the abduction, decried the spate of kidnapping targeted at medical doctors in the state.

Green stated that doctors were afraid to report to work because they have become targets.

The NMA chairman said that in 2015, 21 of their colleagues were kidnapped in the state, adding that members of the families of the victims who paid ransoms before they were released, have not been able to offset the monies borrowed for ransom a year after.

He threatened that if the two doctors were not released unconditionally within 48 hours doctors under the employ of the State Government would be forced to stop work and search for their kidnapped colleagues.

Green said medical doctors are so scared to either go to work to attend to their patients who are in the ratio of 5,000 to one medical doctor.

He regretted that medical doctors have suddenly become endangered species who constantly feel insecure because they don’t have security details attached to them like politicians.

The Rivers State Government, which incidentally has a medical doctor as Deputy Governor, Dr Mrs Ipalibo Banigo, is yet to react to the 48 hours ultimatum by the doctors.

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