Medical Doctors, on Tuesday, protested in Kogi state over the kidnap of a colleague, Dr Austin Uwumagbe.
It could be recalled that kidnappers abducted Dr. Uwumagbe, the Director of Victory Hospital-Annex at Ogaminana, Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi State last week.
Our correspondent who visited Kogi State Specialist Hospital Lokoja, Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja, and some hospitals within the state capital gathered that doctors were not on ground to attend to sick patients.
Speaking on the ongoing protest by medical doctors, the Kogi State Chairman, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr Olusola Baoku, noted that medical practitioners have always been the target of criminal elements in the country.
He lamented that over 48 doctors have been kidnapped in the last two years across the country.
Baoku bemoaned the impression that medical doctors are very rich and should be subjected to kidnap.
“If you go round Kogi State right now, you won’t find any doctor at work. We believe that an injury to one is an injury to all. Our colleague has been in captivity for over five days and nothing has been heard positively to secure his release. Some of our members are agitated and restless because nobody knows who will be kidnapped next. People are no longer safe to go to work.
“We are in touch with the family and the family is touch with security agencies. For us, we are not involved in negotiation because we are not security agencies or agency of government. Our own is to solidarize with our colleague who is still in captivity.
“The general public should stop this misconception that doctors are rich. We want the public to know that we are living from hand to mouth. Our salaries are meager as we built our houses with loans, making us incurring huge debt. If you do your background check, larger percentage of doctors are in debt with three or four financial institutions.
“Doctors are also bedeviled with the problem of assisting patients who could not pay their hospital bill. At the end, we pay their bills from our own salaries. You will find out that when a doctor get salary, it will be remaining peanut since they have spent it in settling different debts. They should stop kidnapping doctors for ransom, because we are very poor. Our account are empty,” Baoku lamented.
The NMA Chairman, however, explained that the kidnappers have reached out to the family members and are demanding for ransom.
“They have demanded for a very huge ransom, which no single individual can raise. That is why NMA is crying for help so that our colleague can be released immediately,” he stated.
He called on the Kogi state government and security agencies to swing into action immediately to ensure the safe release of the kidnaped victim.