NMA Ends 40-Day-Long Strike in Cross River Following Kidnapping of Doctor

The Cross River State chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has decided to put an end to its 40-day-long strike, which was initiated to demand the immediate release of their fellow medical professional, Prof. Ekanem Ephraim. The suspension of the strike comes after an emergency meeting held on Saturday in Calabar.

Prof. Ekanem Ephraim was reported abducted on July 13, 2023, by unidentified gunmen from her place of work at Mountain of Fire, situated along Atimbo road in Calabar Municipality Local Government Area of the state. The NMA, under the leadership of Dr. Felix Archibong, had been resolute in their demand for her unconditional release.

Speaking at the press briefing, Dr. Archibong conveyed the Association’s decision to suspend the strike, highlighting their awareness of the impact on the people of Cross River State. He emphasized that doctors, as professionals and individuals with families, should not be subjected to such dangers.

Dr. Archibong stated, “After convening an emergency meeting at our headquarters today, in response to an appeal from the state governor, Sen Bassey Otu, the Congress has chosen to temporarily halt the strike for a duration of two weeks.”

He added, “In line with the guidance of our National President and in order to provide the government with an opportunity to act responsibly, we have opted to suspend the strike temporarily. Our intention is to give the government a two-week window to secure the safe return of our colleague.”

Dr. Archibong also noted, “Should any of our members face a similar abduction during this period, we will not hesitate to resume our industrial action. However, we wish to extend a measure of trust to the government, influenced by the governor’s appeal and his assurance that Prof. Ekanem Ephraim is alive and will be released.”

He further mentioned that the Cross River state government had offered a reward of Five million naira for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the abduction and subsequent release of Prof. Ekanem Ephraim.

“Our decision to suspend the strike is not an outright cancellation; rather, it is a temporary pause to allow the government an opportunity to fulfill its commitments,” Dr. Archibong clarified. He emphasized the NMA’s intention to continue the strike if necessary conditions were not met.

In conclusion, Dr. Archibong appealed to the abductors, urging them to release Prof. Ekanem Ephraim unharmed. He underscored the Association’s desire for a peaceful resolution and the safe return of their colleague.

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