NMA highlights measures to curb rising insecurity

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From Paul Osuyi, Asaba

South-South zonal members of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) have condemned the recent twin attacks on the Abuja-Kaduna train and Kaduna International Airport, saying that the level of insecurity has become unprecedented in Nigeria.

The zonal NMA in a communique issued at the end of the Zonal Executive Council (ZEC) meeting, regretted that a young doctor, Chinelo Megafu was killed during the train attack in which the hoodlums also abducted scores of passengers.

The communique which was jointly signed by the zonal chairman, Dr. Nwose Emmanuel, and secretary, Dr. Okoacha Innocent, was made available on Saturday in Asaba, Delta State.

It stated that terrorists and bandits were getting emboldened by the day in the horrendous acts of killing, maiming and abduction of innocent citizens, and urged governments at all levels and community leaders to rise up to the occasion.

The association advocated ways to get out of the woods, urging “relevant agents of government to mop up illicit arms circulating in the country through intelligence-driven covert operations to recover ammunition, as well as virtually secure our borders by utilization of Geo-Surveillance.

“The use of geographic information system for intelligence gathering in the areas affected by the insurgency would help in the tracking of people’s movement and apprehending the terrorists.

“Citizens were also encouraged to always provide useful information to the law enforcement agents to enable them get rid of miscreants in our society.”

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On brain drain, ZEC implored stakeholders in the health sector, and policy makers in government to embark on critical policy reforms that would address inadequacies in workplace environment in public and private health institutions as well as improve workers’ welfare, which would reduce emigration of highly trained and skilled personnel from Nigeria.

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ZEC appreciated stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19 within the South-South region, and we urge Nigerians to continue observing precautionary measures to curtail the spread of the deadly virus, even as it implored health workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccines since they are more at risk of being infected.

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It applauded Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State for being the first to commence the payment of COVID-19 special hazard/inducement allowance, urging him to extend the payment to doctors in the University, Polytechnic and Colleges of Education.

ZEC appealed to the governors of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo and Rivers states to domesticate and pay the COVID-19 special hazard allowance to all doctors and other healthcare workers in their states, as it was done for our federal counterparts.

The communique expressed shock at the National Council on Establishment (NCE) rejection of memos on increasing the age of retirement for doctors and re-inclusion of the house officers and NYSC doctors in the scheme of service.

“The members of ZEC condemned the unwarranted removal of the house officers and the NYSC doctors from the scheme of service because it could affect their commitments to duty and worsen the nation’s health indices.

“The council-in-session urged the relevant agents of government to revisit the issues of increasing the retirement age for doctors and re-inclusion of the house officers and the NYSC doctors in the scheme of service so as to improve industrial harmony within the health sector with eventual efficient healthcare delivery to Nigerians,” it stated.

Commending governors in the region for the payment of various welfare packages to healthcare providers, ZEC however, implored the governors to “adopt universal domestication and implementation of welfare packages for doctors and other healthcare workers in the region as it is done by the Federal Government.”

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