SUSPECTED hoodlums stormed the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, in the early hours of Wednesday, destroying the administrative block and carted away computers and files allegedly relating to COVID-19.
Sources at the hospital told our correspondent that the protesters numbering about 50 stormed the premises with placards and dangerous weapons, attacking and destroying valuables.
Some of the placards read, ‘State govt not doing anything about the excesses of FMC, Lokoja’, ‘Please help us PMB’, ‘There are isolation centres in FMC, Lokoja with equipment, why are they unutilised?’ ‘Other FMCs across the federation are handling the pandemic’, and ‘GYB/PMB, come to our rescue’.
The timely intervention of men of the State Police Command, however, prevented more damages as the protesters went wild at a point before the intervention of the police.
Efforts to speak with the Chief Medical Director, Dr Tunde Alabi, proved abortive as repeated calls to his mobile phone rang out, while text messages sent to him were not replied.
The state government, in a swift reaction, said that 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.
The statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Kingsley Fanwo, indicated that many people in the Emergency Ward were left unattended to, while a woman gave birth to a baby at the gate of the hospital, which 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,” Fanwo noted.