Medical doctors on Wednesday stormed the streets of Abeokuta to protest the abduction of their colleague, Mrs Taibat Otulana, a consultant Ophthalmologist at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital, Sagamu.
Otulana was reported to have been kidnapped by unknown persons at Imota, a suburb of Lagos, while on her way to Ijebu-Ode on Friday. The doctors under the umbrella body of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Ogun chapter, gathered to register their displeasure at the governor’s office while carrying placards with various inscriptions.
Inscriptions such as “save our souls”, “doctors say no to insecurity of lives and property”, “kidnapping is a terrorist act”, “ safeguard our lives”, among others, were displayed by the protesters.
The Chairman of NMA in the state, Dr Adewunmi Alayaki, who led the protest, said the recent wave of kidnapping was the result of the publication of doctors’ salaries, which gave the impression that doctors had become wealthy people.
“What was even published is the actual amount of our earnings; for other people, they never publish what they are earning; they publish that of doctors and in the long run, you can now see that doctors are now being kidnapped.
“The woman in captivity yesterday morning said they told her that she should request for salary; that she has the wherewithal’ she has the money to pay back.” Alayaki, who described the incident as unfortunate and the fourth in recent time, urged the state government to step up action to ensure the immediate release of the female doctor.
According to him, the fact that the victim is a woman is enough reason to facilitate her freedom as quickly as possible to forestall the possibility of her being sexually molested.
The NMA chairman added that if nothing meaningful was done in the next 48 hours, they would not hesitate to down tools in all state health institutions. He said: “If in the next 48 hours, we cannot secure the release of this woman, we can no longer guarantee continuity of service in Ogun State; be it federal, be it state, be it local government chapters, because injury to one is injury to all.”
Reacting on behalf of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, Dr Olaokun Soyinka, the Ogun Health Commissioner, described the incident as unfortunate and expressed the governor’s concern over the issue.
Soyinka gave the assurance that the state would liaise with Lagos State to see that Otulana regained her freedom. He said that the state government would not accede to the demands of kidnappers by paying the ransom.
“We are not immune to the state of insecurity in the nation and while the government is going to do its bit, we also have to ask you to remain vigilant and to do your bit. “As regards obtaining the release of this lady, you all know the government’s stance; If the government starts paying kidnappers, you can guarantee that we have made sure that they will go out and kidnap someone else.”