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Curfew: NMA Threatens To Withdraw Services In Delta After Soldiers Allegedly Forced Member To Swim Inside ‘Gutter’

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Some military personnel enforcing the 48-hour curfew imposed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Saturday reportedly assaulted a medical doctor by forcing him to swim inside a pool of dirty water along the Effurun-Warri Road at Effurun in Uvwie Local Government Area of the state.

Niger Delta Today reports that the soldiers forced the doctor to swim inside the murky water at gunpoint while heading for work.

The incident happened at about 11am by the popular Airport Junction in the heart of Uvwie LGA near the commercial city of Warri.

The victim, Dr. Raphael Onyemekehia, a consultant physician, was alleged to have identified himself to the soldiers with his identity card before he was ordered to enter the gutter and swim for allegedly violating the curfew.

Medical sources said the soldiers were alleged to have told the medical doctor that nobody was exempted from the curfew by the order given to them.

They alleged that the medical doctor violated the state-wide curfew declared by the state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.

Governor Okowa had while declaring the curfew exempted essential workers including medical workers from the restriction of movement owing to the violence that greeted the #EndSARS protests across the country.

They threatened to shoot the doctor if he failed to swim in the gutter.

Dr. Onyemekehia was said to have swam for about 30 minutes before a senior military officer who ran into the incident saved him from the unfortunate incident.

The state chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Emmanuel Nwose, confirmed the development.

Nwose, while condemning the assault on the medical doctor, disclosed that he had reported the incident to the state governor, Dr. Okowa.

He demanded that the perpetrators of the ugly act must be fished out and prosecuted by the military authorities to serve as a warning to overzealous military personnel.

The NMA chairman recounted that, “On his way to work he was beaten up by soldiers at Airport Junction in Effurun around 11am today (Saturday). The victim is Dr. Raphael Onyemekehia, a consultant physician. He reported to us and said the soldiers were without their name tags.

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“When he got to the check point, he showed them his ID card and told them he was going to work but they refused him passage. Thereafter, they ordered him to swim in the murky water inside the gutter. Since they pointed gun at him, he had no option than to enter the water to swim.

“While he was swimming, they were flogging until a superior officer came and told them to allow him to go home. He sustained injuries. This is not acceptable to us. As doctors, we are essential workers and when we say we want to attend to patients, we should be allowed to do that.

“What we (NMA) are demanding is that those military personnel should be identified and brought to book. If nothing is done about this, we will be force to withdraw our services until our member gets justice.

“We are calling on the Delta State Government and the military authorities to fish out the soldiers that committed this crime and with necessary disciplinary action taken against them. Our member must be duly compensated or we will call for withdrawal of our services.”

Efforts to reach the authorities of the 3 Battalion Nigerian Army, Effurun, for official response proved abortive at the time of filing this report.

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