The Nigerian Optometric Association (NOA) has condemned frequent attacks on its members and called for urgent protection to avoid nationwide service disruption.
Dr. Ozy Okonokhua, the President of NOA, made the appeal at a news conference on the attack of optometry profession on Tuesday in Abuja.
He was reacting to the gruesome murder of its member, Dr Lucky Kina, the immediate past Chairman of Rivers chapter, in Ogoniland.
Okonokhua therefore called for intervention by security agencies to protect lives and property of citizens.
He lamented that Kina who was NOA Vice Chairman of the community council, was murdered last two weeks by known anti-cultist advocate in the presence of his wife in his home town.
“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Inspector General of Police, the Governor of Rivers State and FCT Minister, with other security agencies and well meaning Nigerians to come to the aid of optometrists in the country.
“We demand that persons that masterminded the gruesome murder of Kina be fished out and meted with justice.
“Kina was a peace loving citizen of Nigeria and does not deserve to be killed by persons who bear no true allegiance to the value of humanity.
“We also demand that the security agencies take practical steps to bring to book all persons involved in this systemic attack on the optometry family.
“This is to help restore confidence of the NOA on the security apparatus in Nigeria. We shall continue to make this demand until justice has been served.
“No longer shall we keep quiet and watch key contributions to the economy such as optometrists decimated by agents of darkness.
“We further call on all persons of good conscience to lend a voice to this clarion call and help save optometrists from extinction in the country,” Okonokhua said.
The NOA president recalled that the former FCT Chairman of the association was attacked and shot by suspected armed robbers in July 2016, and in October 2017 a siege was laid on the home of immediate past president Dr. Damian Echendu, for four hours in Abuja.
“Similarly, in June 2018, Rivers state chapter Treasurer was held hostage for days by persons demanding for ransom.’’
He also noted that in September, the Secretary of Kaduna State chapter died in strange circumstances in his home in Kaduna and few days ago the President of Women Optometrists in Nigeria (WON) was also held hostage for 14 hours in her house by suspected armed robbers, among others.
Okonokhua described orchestrators of these attacks as averse to eye care development in the country and to further discourage the optometry population from growing.
According to him, NOA view these cases of attacks on members, particularly office holders, as a deliberate attempt to silence optometrists in the country given their commitment to the growth of the nation.
“Today NOA is under attack; today eye care in Nigeria is under attack. We are being systematically singled out for attack by persons who are not with the gains recorded by Optometry profession for Nigerian populace across the length and breadth of the country.
“We view the killing of Kina as a clear indication of the fact that some persons are unhappy with the contributions being made by optometrists and NOA as a body.
“It is obvious that the leadership of NOA is the prime target so as to reduce the association’s influence and contributions to social development and nation building,” he said.