The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Benue State branch, has commenced a three-day warning strike across the 23 local government areas of the State, to demand for the release of one of its members, Dr Asema Msuega, of the Sankera General Hospital in Ukum, who was kidnapped on Sunday, July 23, 2023.
The State chairman of NMA, Dr. Ushakuma Anenga, who disclosed this in a statement on Monday, explained that the decision to embark on the strike action was reached after extensive deliberation on the continued captivity of their colleague, Dr. Msuega, during the association’s State Executive Council (SEC) meeting.
Recall that Dr. Msuega was abducted in the line of duty on his way to supervise a state malaria initiative at a Primary Health Centre in Ukum Local Government Area of the state and up till date he was yet to be released.
According to Dr Anenga, “this incessant kidnapping of our members is becoming a culture in Sankera axis especially Ukum local government, where Doctors inline of duty and other medical personnels are being kidnapped every other day for ransom, just last Month, the Benue State Police command rescued one of our colleague Doctor Etito Obediah, who was kidnaped in the same LG, so instead of allowing our colleagues who are saving lives to continue to suffer in the hands of bandits it better to shutdown services an press home the release of Dr Asema.
“This warning strike will encompass all medical doctors and extend to all health and educational facilities across the state. However, private hospitals and clinics across the state are exempted from the strike and will remain open on compassionate and kind consideration of the plight of the general public.”
The NMA chairman added that, “in addition to the strike, there will be a massive protest in Makurdi on Thursday, 24th August 2023, to amplify their collective voice and demand the immediate release of Dr Asema buy NMA members.
“There will be massive protest by NMA members on Thursday which will begin by 9am at the government house roundabout.”
While regretting the inconveniences the action might cause the public, the NMA boss called on the State governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia; His Royal Majesty, the Tor Tiv, Orchiviligh Prof. James Ayatse; the Senator representing Benue North-East senatorial zone, Barr. Emmanuel Udende; Member representing Katsina-Ala/Ukum/Logo federal constituency, Solomon Wombo; State House of Assembly member representing Ukum constituency, Hon. Ezra Nyiyongo, and other stakeholders and well-meaning Nigerians to wade into the ugly situation to secure the life of the young medical doctor.
“The NMA Benue State Branch reiterates its determination to continue pressing until our demand is met, even as we thank our members and the public for their overwhelming support and understanding during these trying times,” he stated.
It will also be recalled that prior to the threats of strike and protest, NMA had already directed all medical doctors working in Ukum local government area of Benue State to leave immediately for their safety.