Sane minds yesterday read the statement issued by the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Dr Nsikak Nyoyokoh, wherein he advised members of the Association thus; “in the event of being denied passage while on your way to work, please be civil, do not resist, but return home and notify your superior at work.”
The statement also revealed, that the NMA Chairman, while on official duty to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) to distribute PPEs, was, just like other members, denied passage along Udo Udoma Avenue by Aka Road Roundabout by men of the Nigerian Police Force purportedly on orders from ‘above’.
While we appreciate the NPF for its efforts in ensuring strict compliance to the State Government’s lockdown order, we appeal to the Commissioner of Police to properly brief his men on the issue of “essential duties” and which set of workers render such. The fight against COVID-19 is a collective one, as such, no critical stakeholders like the NMA should at any point, be harassed or denied passage in the course of their work.
We urge the NPF to strengthen its line of communication and further ensure that officers are provided with timely and accurate situation report, including COVID-19 updates, so they can assist medical professionals respond speedily to health emergencies across the state. The NPF must be professional and humane in their conduct, especially, during this crisis period.
To the NMA, it is understandable that the above directive is for the wellbeing of its members. However, such ‘advice’ is injurious to the entire state at this critical point, considering the quality of service being rendered by the NMA. Just as we appreciate the NMA for its sacrificial services, we empathize with the body on the ugly incident. Rather than encourage its members to stay at home, we appeal to the NMA to devise a more humane approach in addressing the overzealousness of some security operatives. Everyone, include security agents, needs the NMA at this point.
We are in the know that some persons are hiding under the cloak of medical professionals to gain free movement, we therefore call on the NMA to ensure that her members are properly identified at all times.
As Social Change Agents with interest in societal concerns, we appeal for a more robust and collaborative working relationship between the NMA, NPF and other similar agencies, to complement Governor Udom Emmanuel’s laudable efforts in eradicating the virus from our dear state. There should be no lacuna from anywhere.
Finally, we urge Akwa Ibom people and those resident in the state to continue to stay safe from COVID-19, by remaining at home and observing all precautionary measures issued by the government and health authorities.
Together, we shall come out victorious and return to our law abiding activities.
-Mr Ekpeno Gold,
SA to the Governor on Social Reorientation and Progenitor of the Social Values Campaign.