Kogi State government has denied sponsoring a disruption of the planned protest by the Joint Action Congress (JAC) of the Federal Medical Centre Lokoja.
Earlier today, gunmen attacked the hospital, destroying properties and laptops that had COVID-19 records. They also tore files kept in the hospital.
This was shortly after the different health associations in the hospital were on their way to stage a peaceful protest to call for the location of a screening Centre in the hospital. According to the health workers, the screening Centre has been necessitated by the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state, and the continuous endangerment of health officials in the state.
Staff of FMC Lokoja were also pushed to act when a colleague died of an illness relating and with symptoms of COVID-19.
The hospital staff also said that despite the close proximity of the FMC to the Government House and Police headquarters, nobody responded to the operation that lasted more than 30 minutes.
Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has been playing hard ball for months, refusing what the doctors have confirmed about the presence of the disease in the state, and rejecting advances made by the PTF on COVID-19 and the NCDC.
The doctors have since shut down the hospitals, ordering association members to go home to ensure their safety.
The Kogi State Governor, however has denied masterminding the disruption of the health workers’ intended protest. In a statement by the state’s Commissioner for Information, the protest was blamed on families of patients in the hospital.
Kingsley Fanwo, the Commissioner said the protest by the families ensured when relatives of patients got enraged by the refusal of the hospital management to attend to them.
“Preliminary findings revealed that the violence ensued when relations of patients in the medical facility protested against the failure of the management of the hospital to attend to them,” Fanwo said.
“Many people in the emergency ward were left unattended to and a mother delivered at the gate of the hospital. That generated a lot of public tension in the state.
“Tension started building since yesterday when patients and their relatives learnt of a plan by the medical staff to stage a protest today, seeking protection from COVID-19.
“We urge the people of the state to remain calm as government will ensure maintenance of law and order.
“We also sue for calm and urge medical authorities to remain committed to their medical profession and responsibilities as Government will protect them in order to give them the confidence to deliver. Healthcare management must never be politicized.
“Also, government will carry out further investigations to ascertain the remote causes of the breach of peace by the protesters and also address their fears.”