Some officers of the Nigerian Air Force have allegedly assaulted a medical doctor on her way to resume duty at a hospital in Rivers State.
The incident was said to have happened on May 18 along Ohiamini-Psychiatric Road, off Rumuola, Port Harcourt, the state capital, about 5pm.
The victim, Dr Otoide AO, said she was going to cover a night shift when she “saw a light blue Hilux with military personnel and a light blue luxury bus behind it”.
She said she had her Medical ID cards on and a pass issued by the Attorney General of the state for essential workers to be exempted from the lockdown in parts of the state occasioned by COVID-19.
“As they got closer to me, one of the two armed men behind the Hilux jumped down, pointing his weapon at me, he shouted ‘Stop there!’ I told him you don’t need to point your weapon at me, just ask me who I am.
“He asked ‘Who are you?’ I said I was a medical doctor but just as the words left my lips before I could pull out my ID cards, he landed a heavy slap on my left cheek.
“I was dazed for a moment and I heard him say, ‘Are you the first doctor?’ Otoide narrated on Twitter.
She said the other officers came down when jolted by the sound of the slap only to blame her for being rude to their colleague.
According to her, they later got into their vehicles while she brought out her phone to capture them.
“I took out my Samsung phone hoping to capture their images for future identification. An officer forcefully took my phone away from me. I waited till their backs were turned and brought my second phone, an infinix. They noticed my action and pushed me into the luxury bus.
“The bus later stopped briefly and an officer named Bass MO attempted to forcefully take my phone away and he damaged the screen in the process as I refused to let go of the phone.”
The medical practitioner said she was taken to the state COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre where members of the Nigerian Medical Association in the state came to her rescue.
NMA Secretary, Rivers State Chapter, Dr Diamond Tamunokuro, confirmed the incident.
“Yes, it is true. We are in a meeting over it. Let’s discuss later,” he said.
When contacted, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Ibikunle Daramola, who had earlier released a two-part tweet on the matter, told a national daily that the officers involved have been detained.
“She has given her account of the story but the Nigerian Air Force has detained the officers involved in the act.
“A board of inquiry has been set up in Port Harcourt and it has contacted all the civilians involved from the scene of the incident to the Isolation Centre. The state Health Commissioner has been contacted and Dr Otoide herself has been invited too.
“A proper investigation is ongoing into the matter and once the Prima facie is established, those culpable will be severely dealt with and the public will be kept informed.
“The Nigerian Air Force, as a law-abiding organization, has zero tolerance for acts that infringe on the rights of any citizen, much less healthcare professionals at this critical time,” he said.