The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has condemned reported violent clashes during the chairmanship election of the Enugu chapter of the association.
In a statement posted on the NMA official website, the association’s president, Innocent Ujah, said he had “gotten unverified reports of skirmishes during the conduct of elections in some state branches of the association in the country with some becoming outrightly violent.”
He said the association condemned in its entirety all forms of electoral violence.
Some persons alleged to be medical doctors were spotted in a viral video destroying election materials on Thursday. Some were with bloodied faces.
Many Nigerians took to social media to condemn the development in the video which has been trending in the past 24 hours.
In the two minutes, 21 seconds video, ballot boxes were destroyed and ballot papers scattered on the ground as persons in doctors’ traditional sky-blue shirts exchanged fisticuffs while a few security operatives tried to restore calm.
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify where and when the video was shot. But according to Sahara Reporters, it happened on Thursday at the Michael Okpara Square in Enugu where medical doctors in the state gathered to elect members into leadership positions.
The process turned violent after thugs invaded the venue, the newspaper said.
Some members of the association suffered serious injuries from the thugs allegedly sponsored by a faction of the body, it said.
Condemning the incident, Mr Ujah, who was elected NMA national president in May in the association’s first-ever virtual election, said the body “will deliberate on these cases during her next National Executive Council (NEC) meeting scheduled for the 27th to 30th of August 2020 with all cases verified, thoroughly investigated and all those found culpable brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.”
In the statement signed by the NMA national publicity secretary, Aniekeme Uwah, the president assured all members that the association will not fold its arms and allow a few persons to bring it to disrepute.
“NMA believes in the sanctity of the ballot and members must be allowed to exercise their franchise through a free, fair and credible process devoid of any form of rancor or violence.
“As members of the noble profession, we must continue to exhibit the highest levels of decorum in all our affairs, including before, during, and after elections.
“In conclusion, we want to reiterate our belief in the sacred democratic values of one man, one vote and we also urge all the state branches of NMA yet to conduct their elections to ensure that these values and inalienable rights of members are never eroded”, the statement read.
NMA, the professional association for registered Nigerian doctors and dentists, elects its leaders biennially.
The association has thousands of members across Nigeria’s 36 states and capital, including those registered in the diaspora.
The NMA was established in 1951.