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NMA condemns police harassment of members

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The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has condemned alleged harassment and intimidation of its members by security agents in parts of the country.

The Chairman, FCT chapter of the association, Dr Ekpe Phillips, decried the manhandling of medical doctors in the FCT, including Dr Daniel Eitokpha.

Phillips told a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja that the attack on doctors by the police was becoming a recurring decimal.

He berated the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) conduct towards Eitokpha, describing the attack on his person as unfortunate and unprofessional.

“The attack was dehumanising and intimidation of NMA FCT member,’’ he said.

It would be recalled that Eitokpah was detained for attempting to rescue and perform Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on a suicide victim who hung himself at Sunnyvale Estate, Lokogoma District Abuja.

The chairman said that Eitokpah was immediately held as a suspect thereby causing so much damage on his image, moral and professional status as medical doctor.

“This is indeed worrisome and indicates what some innocent Nigerians pass through every day in the hands of the law enforcement agents.”

According to him, Eitokpah graduated from Ternopil State Medical School, Ukraine, in 2016 and returned to Nigeria as a Brain gain to serve his country only to experience this harsh and hostile treatment from those who are supposed to protect him.

“When the team of Police arrived the scene, Eitokpah identified himself as a medical doctor, a youth corps member and explained the situation he met on ground to the police, expecting commendation.

“He was rather rebuked, arrested and immediately termed a suspect after being addressed in a demeaning manner, this is indeed really unfortunate,” he said.

Phillips said that this was one of the many harassment NMA members passed through in the course of discharging their duties as professionals.

He called on the police management to call its personnel to order and put an end to the incessant harassment and criminalisation of doctor not only in FCT but in Nigeria at large.

He stated that Eitokpah now feels afraid and insecure in his country because of the behaviour of the Police who treated him as a suspected murderer instead of protecting him after detailed identification, explanation and confirmation by other witnesses.

Phillips said that the unfortunate situation had pushed Eitokpah to begin to reconsider leaving the country again.

But for the CCTV footage, Eitokpah would have still being in detention and perhaps would have been sentenced to death for trying to save the life of a neighbour, a Nigerian.

The CCTV footage actually revealed that the RCCG gospel artist succeeded in committing suicide solely for over four hours.

According to him, it is unfortunate that those who drew the attention of the public and put an emergency call to the police were also arrested, intimidated and harassed.

“It appears that if you see an emergency situation that requires urgent attention, one should quietly walk away,’’ the chairman said.

The association however demanded for public apology to Dr Eitokpah, his family and NMA-FCT.

He advised the police to stop further harassment and intimidation of medical doctors and other health professionals on duty.

The chairman also urged that medical doctors should be allowed to carry out their legitimate duties without unnecessary delays on Nigerian roads.

Phillips also demanded that the police force should issue clear instructions to the police that they should excise cautious and stop the act of intimidation and harassment of innocent Nigerians without proper investigation.

“ The police need the doctors and the doctors need the police, we should work together,’’ he appealed.

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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