UNTH consultants tasks security agencies on release of abducted colleague, Prof. Ekanem
The Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN), University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State Chapter, yesterday, has expressed worries over the continued stay in captivity of their colleague, Prof. Ekanem Philip.
Ekanem has been in captivity for more than 50 days after she was kidnapped in Calabar, Cross River State. A Professor of Neurology, she is the lead consultant of neurology at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH).
Chairman, MDCAN, UNTH chapter, Dr. Duru Augustine, who led other white ribbon-wearing members of the association in a solemn procession for the release of the kidnap victim, stated that kidnapping and taking professionals into captivity was an indication that there was trouble in the land.
Duru, who led the procession that included executive members of MDCAN to the office of the acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Val Ugwu, expressed sadness that their colleague was being held even after the family had paid ransom.
“When the incident occurred, the NMA chapter in Cross River State went on strike. They decided to call off the strike due to the negative effect it created in the health sector. But for eight weeks, she has been held in captivity. We are in support of MDCAN in all that they are doing to ensure freedom for Prof. Ekanem. We are not happy that our member is passing through pains because she decided to serve her country.
“We want to call on the Federal Government and the security agencies to intensify efforts to free this woman. She has been put out of communication in the last eight weeks. We cannot at the moment say exactly where she is and how she is doing. But the truth is that she is traumatised,” he stated.
Duru, who read a prepared statement from the national leadership of the association to the acting CMD, also decried the kidnap of about 14 doctors in Calabar in the last five months, explaining that something urgent should be done to protect medical practitioners in the state to discourage migration.
Responding, Ugwu, who expressed sadness over the development, stated that the UNTH was in full support of the Consultants in their quest to free their member from captivity.
“It is unfortunate that this has befallen one of us. Kidnapping is a big menace in the country at the moment and will affect the health sector if the practitioners are not protected. We know that Consultants are leaving the country in their numbers and kidnapping them adds petrol to fire.
“UNTH calls for the release of Prof. Ekanem and we use her to ask for the release of others kept in captivity. I am happy that Consultants have made it a peaceful protest by wearing white ribbon. I have decided to wear mine in total solidarity and support for all concerned to please help us and save this sector,” he said.
While offering prayers to God to continue to uphold Ekanem and pave the way for her release, Rev. Azubuike Okeke also sought divine protection for medical practitioners in Nigeria.
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