Doctors and other medical staff of the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, have downed tools following the abduction of the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Sylvanus Okogbenin.
The doctors on the platform of Association of Residents Doctors and the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU), staged a peaceful protest over the abduction with placards of various inscriptions, demanding the immediate release of the Chief Medica Director.
“Our CMD is a leader, release him”, No CMD no work,” some of the placards read.
The protesters took their protest to the Secretariat of Esan Central local government council where they registered their displeasure over the security situation in the area which they described as life-threatening and an ugly development.
Branch chairman of the ARD, Dr. Julian Ojebor, said the protest was to press for the unconditional release of their boss, adding that they were shocked about the kidnapping after the release of two of their staff who were earlier abducted.
“This is one kidnapping too many. We had lost a staff to kidnappers in 2013. We decided to shut down because we are now afraid to go to Agbor or Benin.
“The highway is no longer safe for us. We will not go to work until the highways are made safe and our CMD released.
“The consultants are on partial shutdown and the emergency unit will be opened,” Dr. Ojebor said.
A spokesman for the hospital, Mr. Ernest Ohue, who confirmed the peaceful protest said they have commenced prayers for the safe return of their boss, adding that the doctors had vowed not to return to work until Prof. Okogbenin is released.
He said the hospital was still open to receive patients.
Recall that Prof. Okogbenin was abducted at Ramat Park in Ikpoba-Okha local government on Monday while going to the Benin airport to catch a flight to Abuja.
Two policemen were killed in the process while some passersby were reportedly hit with stray bullets.
At press time the kidnappers were yet to make demands for ransom even as the state Commissioner of Police, Danmallam Mohammed, has cancelled his scheduled engagements as a result of the CMD’s abduction.
He declined to speak on the incident so as not to endanger an ongoing investigation.