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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has demanded the ‘full commitment’ of President Muhammadu Buhari to the security and protection of lives and properties of Nigerians on the nation’s highways.

This was part of resolutions at the end of NMA’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on Sunday in Kano State.

The association noted with dismay the worsening state of insecurity in the country.

The doctors condemned “in strong terms the gruesome murder” of Jerome Elusiyan the Chairman, Medical Advisory Council of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals, Osun State.

Copies of a communique containing observations and resolutions adopted after the meeting were made available to journalists on Tuesday in Abuja.

It was signed by NMA President, Francis Faduyile.

Murder of Elusiyan

The NMA in its resolution described the killing of Mr Elusiyan, a professor of Pediatrics and Child Health, as unacceptable.

The doctors urged the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to intensify efforts in apprehending the perpetrators within the next two weeks and “forestall future reoccurrence”.

Mr Elusiyan is the latest medical professional to suffer security mishap on Nigerian roads, raising fresh concerns by health workers.

He was murdered by unknown gunmen on Friday in Edo.

The physician was in the state to supervise an examination. He was travelling from Ekpoma to Benin where he had planned to spend the night before his vehicle came under attack by yet-to-be-identified assailants.

Other demands

The medical association also condemned the continued incarceration of two medical doctors – Audu Sule and Sunday Oduniyi – kidnapped on a highway in Taraba State over six months ago.

“We urge security operatives to ensure the release of our colleagues kidnapped in Taraba state and other Nigerians in the den of kidnappers,” the communique read.

“The NMA cannot continue to watch its members molested and hacked down in this country. The NEC called on governments at all levels and security agencies to urgently do the needful in addressing this menace”.

Rising insecurity

Despite numerous checkpoints along many highways, violent crimes, killings and kidnappings have continued unabated.

The killing of Funke Olakunrin, a 58-year-old daughter of Yoruba leader, Reuben Fasoranti – who was attacked while travelling on a highway in Ondo State – was one among many violent crimes reported across Nigerian roads in the last three years.

It drew national outrage at the time with the government promising to install CCTV cameras along highways among other measures to check violent crimes. However, little or nothing has been done in that regard.

Growing concerns

The NMA NEC expressed its disappointment with the failure of both federal and state Governments to “effectively check security lapses and the ravaging incidence of banditry, armed robbery, kidnappings and endless killings of innocent Nigerians”.

An official of the NMA had earlier in the year credited insecurity as a major reason why Nigerian doctors are migrating to other countries across the globe.

Ekpe Phillips, the chairman of the NMA, Abuja Branch, said the country is getting increasingly insecure especially for health professionals, a situation he said was negatively affecting the health sector.

“When we list factors causing ‘brain drain’, we are not just talking about facility and remuneration. Some are leaving because they feel very insecure,” the medical doctor said.

He said it is worrisome “how doctors are being killed and kidnapped regularly in the line of duty”.

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