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Protesters attack FMC Lokoja as woman gives birth unattended

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Protesters yesterday morning attacked the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Lokoja, Kogi State, destroyed the administrative block and carted away money and equipment.

The hoodlums reportedly invaded the premises of the hospital with dangerous weapons about 8 a.m. and chased away patients.

Sources at the centre said the mob, numbering over 50, went to the administrative block, destroyed part of the building, carted away office equipment and destroyed valuables.

It was gathered that the mob equally invaded the revenue unit of the hospital, attacked the staff on duty and carted away an undisclosed sum of money.

A source disclosed that as at the time of the attack, no security operative was on duty.

However, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Williams Aya, told reporters that the situation was under control, as the Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Ede, had drafted his men to the scene.

According to him, when the police got information that a group of people wanted to stage a protest at FMC yesterday morning, the CP drafted his men to the centre to prevent the breakdown of law and order.

He, however, noted that the management of the facility was yet to officially report the incident to the command.

FMC, Lokoja, had stopped admitting out-patients due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

All efforts to speak with FMC management proved abortive, as the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Olatunde Alabi, neither responded to text messages nor answered calls to his phone.

Meanwhile, the state government has described the incident as unfortunate, saying that preliminary investigation revealed that the incident was a scuffle between FMC staff and some patients’ relatives at the hospital.

Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, stated yesterday that government gathered that tension started to build up on Tuesday when many patients in the Emergency Ward were left unattended to by the centre, while a woman gave birth at the gate of the hospital.

Doctors and nurses reportedly rejected the woman, who was rushed to the centre by her Nupe husband when her labour began, for not providing evidence of her COVID-19 status. She eventually gave birth in an open space without any assistance from the health workers.

THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned the attack, expressing worry, especially over allegations that the state government sponsored the attackers.

Its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday, noted that the state government had allegedly ordered Kogi people not to visit the centre for their medications, following its disagreement with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on the state’s COVID-19 status.

It insisted that such an attack could not be justified under any guise.

The government, however, sued for calm and urged medical authorities to remain committed to their profession and responsibilities, as the state would protect them and give them the confidence to deliver.


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