Owerri - Doctors in Imo State have declared a three-day closure of all public and private hospitals in the state to protest their ill-treatment by the police and state governor Rochas Okorocha administration.
Last week, the doctors and the police clashed in Owerri, the state capital, during a protest against the management of public hospitals and poor treatment of health workers by the state government. During the incident, some doctors were reported shot by the police.
The directive to shut down all the hospitals in Imo was given on Tuesday by the state chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
The association said that the closure of the hospitals was to express their grievances against the action of the police and the concessioning of public hospitals by Okorocha.
Also read: Anti-concessioning protest turns bloody in Owerri
In a press statement issued by NMA Chairman, Dr Hyacinth Emele and Secretary, Kyrian Duruewuru, the association condemned the action of the police, insisting that the police acted the script of some government officials by shooting its members on a peaceful protest.
Emele said that contrary to the police claim that NMA never obtained permission for the protest, it was monitored by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bisong and Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of New Owerri, Eric Uchegbu, who came with six vans loaded with armed policemen, escorting the protesters.
He noted that the police vans which have been escorting them, at the Ware House roundabout, turned against the doctors, diverting them to end their protest at the Freedom Square and not the Government House as contained in their permit.
At that point, Emele said the police, who were hitherto friendly, threw teargas at them and shot some of his members with live bullets.
The NMA said it was shocked by the utterances of the Commissioner for Health, Ngozi Njoku, who it said was rejected by the association because she was not a member of the profession.
- News 24