Doctors at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital commenced strike on Tuesday in reaction to the abduction of the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Sylvanus Okogbenin.
The protesting doctors, under the auspices of the Association of Resident Doctors and the Joint Health Workers Union, pressed for the unconditional release of their boss.
Okogbenin was abducted at Ramat Park in Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area while going to the Benin Airport for a flight to Abuja.
Two policemen were killed in the process while some passers-by were hit by stray bullets.
It was gathered that the kidnappers had yet to make demands.
The Chairman of the Association of Resident Doctors and the Joint Health Workers Union, Dr Julian Ojebor, said they were shocked by the kidnap.
She said, “This is one kidnapping too many. We lost a colleague to kidnappers in 2013. We decided to shut down because we are now afraid to go to Agbor or Benin.
“The highway is no longer safe for us. We will not go to work until the highways are made safe and our CMD released.”
Two of the placards read, ‘Our CMD is a leader, release him’, and ‘No CMD no work.’
The protesters later proceeded to the Esan Central Local Government secretariat.
Spokesman for the hospital, Mr Ernest Ohue, said they had resorted to prayers for the safe return of their boss.
“We held special prayer sessions in different places because of the incident. All the doctors, nurses and clinical staff participated in the protest to show solidarity with the CMD because they are not happy. The CMD has been a leader, he is a good man and the entire medical staff, including doctors, is not happy because the CMD has been trying his best to transform the hospital,” he said.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr DanMallam Mohammed, reportedly cancelled his engagement for Tuesday to attend to the kidnapping issue.
The Police Public Relation Officer, Mr Chidi Nwabuzor, said investigation was on and would not speak on it in order not to jeopardise investigation.
“You know that life is involved; so we have to handle it carefully. For now, we are investigating and that is all I can say,” he said.