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Enugu NMA election turns bloody

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By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu

The crisis that engulfed the Enugu State branch of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) took rather a dangerous dimension on Thursday evening as the much-advertised election of the body turned bloody.

Some members of the association who gathered at the Michael Okpara square for the election suffered serious injuries from thugs who invaded the venue allegedly sponsored by a faction of the body.

The thugs, numbering over thirty, had stormed the venue with dangerous weapons while voting was going on and started destroying chairs, tables and canopies among other objects being used for the election.

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They upturned the ballot boxes and pounced on members of the electoral committee leading to the doctors scampering to safety for fear of losing their lives.

While some sustained injuries while trying to escape from the hired thugs led by a fraction of the members, others including the NMA chairman in the state, Dr Ike Okwesili were thoroughly beaten.

Okwesili’s whereabouts remained unknown since after the attack. His phone lines were inaccessible just as one of the doctors declared ” we hope he is fine where ever he maybe because he was brutalised.”

The policemen who were drafted to the venue of the election had hectic time preventing major casualties. In the process to control the crowd and send people away from the venue, they also dealt with serious blows on the members.

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Trouble had started by the alleged insistence of some resident doctors drawn from the Enugu State University Teaching Hospital (ESUT), Parklane, to participate in the exercise against rules barring them from doing so by their failure to update their membership financially.

The Okwesili led executive was said to have insisted that the rules must be followed in the election. The affected members were said to have regrouped when the election had gone midway and began to destroy things with their hired thugs.

It could be recalled that members of the same group had a few weeks ago, announced that they had suspended the NMA chairman over alleged constitutional breaches.

– Guardian

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