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Kogi Doctors Rally Against Kidnapping as Colleague Remains in Captivity

In a powerful display of unity and concern, medical practitioners in Kogi State converged on the streets of Lokoja, the state’s capital, to protest the recent kidnapping of one of their own, Dr. Austin Uwumagbe. The abduction, carried out by unknown gunmen suspected to be kidnappers, has sent shockwaves through the medical community in the region.

Dr. Austin Uwumagbe, the Director of Victory Hospital Annex in Ogaminana, Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi State, fell victim to the harrowing ordeal.

As our correspondent investigated the situation, it became evident that the medical community was profoundly affected by the abduction. Hospitals, including the Kogi State Specialist Hospital Lokoja and the Federal Teaching Hospital Lokoja, found themselves understaffed as doctors joined the protest, leaving patients without adequate medical care.

Dr. Olusola Baoku, the Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Kogi State, spoke with our correspondent, shedding light on the dire predicament faced by medical professionals in the country. He lamented that medical practitioners have become frequent targets of criminal elements, with over 48 doctors kidnapped in the past two years across the nation.

Dr. Baoku decried the misconception that doctors are affluent individuals deserving of kidnapping for ransom. He sought to dispel this notion, emphasizing the financial challenges many doctors face. “If you go around Kogi State right now, you won’t find any doctor at work. We believe that an injury to one is an injury to all,” he declared.

He continued, “Our colleague has been in captivity for over five days, and nothing positive has emerged regarding his release. Some of our members are agitated and restless because nobody knows who will be kidnapped next. People are no longer safe to go to work.”

Dr. Baoku highlighted the grim financial reality for many doctors, emphasizing that they often struggle to make ends meet, with salaries that hardly cover their basic needs. He pointed out that doctors frequently accumulate debt, making them far from the wealthy individuals they are sometimes perceived to be.

“Doctors are also bedeviled with the problem of assisting patients who cannot pay their hospital bills. In the end, we pay their bills from our salaries,” he disclosed, shedding light on the financial burden doctors shoulder.

The NMA Chairman further revealed that the kidnappers had contacted the victim’s family, demanding a substantial ransom. “They have demanded a very huge ransom, which no single individual can raise. That is why the NMA is crying for help so that our colleague can be released immediately,” Dr. Baoku stressed.

In light of these distressing circumstances, he urged the Kogi State Government and security agencies to swiftly intervene, ensuring the safe and immediate release of the kidnapped doctor. The medical community’s rallying cry underscores the urgent need for improved security measures to protect healthcare professionals who are dedicated to saving lives, even as they grapple with their own financial challenges.

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