The Cross River chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) is protesting the kidnapping of its colleague, Professor Ekanem Philip Ephraim, who has been held captive for the past 19 days. She was seized by unidentified gunmen on July 13, 2023, at her Clinic along Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries by Atimbo in Calabar.
The Cross River chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) is protesting the kidnapping of its colleague, Professor Ekanem Philip Ephraim, who has been held captive for the past 19 days.
On July 13, 2023, she was abducted by unknown gunmen while treating a patient at her Calabar clinic along the Mountain of Fire and Miracle Ministries by Atimbo.
Following this, NMA has protested for her release in federal, state, and private hospitals across the state.
The doctors marched from the General Hospital at Mary Slessor to the State House of Assembly, along Hope Waddell Avenue, carrying placards with various inscriptions, such as “set Cross River State free from the stranglehold of kidnappers; Free all persons held captive by kidnappers; and “make Cross River safe again; ensure Cross River is delisted from the United States’ travel advisory.”
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Dr. Felix Archibong, Chairman of the National Medical Association, told The Guardian that the purpose of the protest was to remind the state governor and the Cross River State House of Assembly that physicians have been sick since the kidnapping of their colleague; consequently, they cannot treat patients.
He demanded security measures for the unequivocal release of their colleague and other captives.
He bemoaned, “We are staging this demonstration to urge Governor Bassey Otu and the security agents to carry out their constitutional duty, which is to safeguard the lives and property of the citizens.
The kidnapping of a female doctor and colleague, Professor Phillip-Ephriam, has been in the news for the past 19 days. We have reached out to the Governor and the security agencies, but they have not responded; to us, they are not working, even if they are. We want them to accomplish something because we believe they are able to and that it is feasible.
“We are persevering because in some states, such as Akwa Ibom and Rivers, kidnapping was a common occurrence, but we no longer hear about it, and we believe it required political will to put an end to it. This is why we are pleading. Even though it is raining, nothing can stop us because we are angry.
“Mentally, we are unstable; for 19 days, it has not been easy, and one of us has been unable to sleep. We are concerned that a woman is in the clutches of kidnappers, and the government’s stance is quite unsettling.
“We cannot labor, as human treatment requires a sound mind, and we cannot pretend. This is the fourteenth Doctor abducted in Cross River State. After today’s demonstration, we intend to continue crying at Government House every morning until our colleague is released.
“Cross River residents should demonstrate their appreciation for our services; we are making an effort to protest.” This is not the time for Cross River residents to criticize us for withdrawing services; these kidnappers reside among them; what have they done? Instead, they should band together and exert pressure. Every doctor in Cross River State is currently ill; we need assistance.” Dr. Archibong expressed regret.
The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, told the National Medical Association (NMA) that they sensed the pain of the doctors. Professor Philip-Ephraim’s safe release, he said, is a priority for the state administration, which will receive the support of the legislature.
In addition, he assured the protesting physicians that the state legislature would pass stricter laws against kidnapping.