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Kogi doctors suspend strike

Doctors in Kogi State have suspended the strike embarked upon two days ago to protest the kidnapping of their colleague, Dr Austin Uwumagbe.

This followed assurances by the state government on Wednesday that all efforts would be made to ensure the safe return of their colleague.

PUNCH reports that the Director of Victory Hospital-Annex at Ogaminana, Dr Austin Uwumagbe, was kidnapped by unknown gunmen last week and has been in the kidnapper’s den since then.

The suspension of the 72-hour strike was contained in a communique issued on Thursday, which was jointly signed by Kogi State NMA Chairman Dr Olusola Baoku and Secretary Dr Emmanuel Kelvin respectively after an emergency Congress meeting of the association.

According to the communique, the Emergency Congress Meeting was called to review the industrial action in protest to the relevant agencies and stakeholders on the kidnap of their colleague Umuragbe.

The Doctors observed that the strike had effectively conveyed the association’s displeasure to the society at large, stressing that, relevant security agencies and stakeholders notably have shown a remarkable commitment to ensuring the safe release of their colleague.

The communique reads in part “Following the intervention of the Medical Elders, the re-assurances from the Kogi State Government, the security agencies and most importantly the plight of our dear patients, the industrial action be suspended across the state at exactly 72hours from its commencement.

“The State Officers Council (SOC) of NMA Kogi should sustain engagement with all the relevant Stakeholders to ensure the release of Dr. Austin Umuragbe. Also, periodic updates should be given to the congress to review the process and chart the way forward”.

While appreciating the commitment of Kogi governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello towards the rescue of their colleague, the association also salutes the doggedness of security agencies in their efforts to rescue the kidnapped victim.

NMA, however, expressed optimism that, Bello who has recorded success and received several awards in protecting Kogi indigenes, will use his good office to quickly bring Umuragbe safe to his family.

“The Governor should again prove himself as he has done repeatedly in the success he has achieved in protecting lives and properties in Kogi State. We want the public to know that we love and care about them as it is important to create an enabling environment for effective health-care delivery.

“We also sympathise with the family of our kidnapped colleague hoping that he will return safely without being hurt,” the communique added.