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NMA, health workers in Ekiti raise alarm over attacks, assault by security operatives

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The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Ekiti State branch has condemned the repeated assault on doctors and other health workers at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, EKSUTH.

This was contained in a statement in Ado-Ekiti, jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the association, Dr Babatunde Rosiji and Dr Moses Dada, respectively.

The statement condemned the assault on health workers at the hospital on several occasions, which they said has gone unabated despite the assurances and reassurances from the management of EKSUTH.

While appealing to all doctors and health workers to remain calm, the association called on the Ekiti State government, the Commissioner of Police in the state, the DSS Director and other security agencies to nip the menace in the bud.

The statement reads: “The trend of violence against health workers is becoming increasingly worrisome. If this barbaric trend is left unchecked, it can wreak havoc on the good work the Governor of Ekiti State is doing towards attracting the best of hands to the health sector of Ekiti State.

“Within the space of one month, there have been at least three troubling episodes involving Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital.

“First was the case involving some commercial drivers who in addition to assaulting health workers, proceeded to destroy government properties and forcefully carted away the corpse of one of their relatives on 15th January 2024.

“While still attempting to resolve this, there was another incident which involved DSS operatives and later degenerated to the use of force and firing of live bullets within the hospital premises on 11th February 2024.

“Following assurances and reassurances from the Management of EKSUTH, the State Command of the DSS and the Ekiti State Government, we were able to reluctantly pacify our members believing that not only will justice be done but such incidents will not be heard of in our dear State again.

“It is, however, worrisome that roughly 72 hours after the second incident, there was another incident of physical abuse of a doctor in the accidents and emergency unit of EKSUTH by yet another DSS Operative who even threatened to bring in a troop of DSS operatives to unleash mayhem on the hospital community.

“It is very worrisome that while we were struggling with the condemnable act of health workers assault by miscreants in the society, the narrative seems to be changing to now involve security operatives who under normal conditions, should be saddled with the responsibility of protecting the citizens and keeping the hospital environment safe as a sanctuary.

“We are using this medium to call on the Ekiti State Government, the Commissioner of Police, the State Director of DSS and heads of other security outfits in the state to do all within their power to protect our members from this unwarranted aggression and bring the full weight of the law on the perpetrators of this dastardly act irrespective of their status.

“We commend the Ekiti State Government under the able leadership of our amiable Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji for the steps taken so far to nip the first two cases in the bud and we equally call on him to leave no stone unturned in putting an end to this barbaric act of ASSAULT on health workers in our dear State.

“We equally call on the Ekiti State House of Assembly under the leadership of the Speaker Rt. Hon. Aribasoye to as a matter of urgency speed up the process of bringing up a law that will criminalize assault on health workers in Ekiti. Evil will continue when it goes unchecked.

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“We use this opportunity to appeal to all doctors and other health workers within the State to remain calm as we stand in solidarity with the EKSUTH Community.

“Our members in ARD EKSUTH have proceeded on an indefinite withdrawal of services until such a time that safety within the hospital premises can be fully guaranteed.

“The NMA EKITI will keep engaging all critical stakeholders towards a speedy resolution of the current crisis.

“Our Association is watching keenly as the investigation into this matter unfolds.”

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