A member of the House of Representatives from Kogi State, Tajudeen Yusuf, has appealed to the Federal Government to reopen the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, in the interest of the people of the state.
The lawmaker, representing Kabba-Bunu/ Ijumu Federal Constituency, made the appeal in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lokoja.
He said that the closure of the facility for the past four months has affected the health of the people, saying that so many innocent lives have been lost due to the prolonged closure.
Mr Yusuf appealed to the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire to use his good offices by ordering the reopening of the centre to save residents from avoidable deaths.
“The continued closure has meant more deaths for patients whose health complications would have been better managed at FMC Lokoja,” the lawmaker said.
It would be recalled that armed thugs had in July invaded the hospital and attacked staff, vandalised equipment, furniture and other property of the centre.
The incident forced the management to order the closure of the facility which was also at the centre of a disagreement with the state government over the COVID-19 status of the Chief Imam of Kabba, Abubakar Ejibunu
The FMC had referred Mr Ejibunu to the National Hospital Abuja where he tested positive for COVID-19, a development which resulted in a dispute between the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the state government.
The state government immediately rejected the result, saying its Ministry of Health was not carried along in the series of tests conducted on the patient.
Mr Yusuf, however, argued that ordinary citizens should not be made to continue to suffer for this, and urged the Federal Ministry of Health to reopen the hospital in the interest of justice and fairness.
“The FMC, Lokoja, the only tertiary federal health facility in the confluence state, offering quality, professional services to indigenes and residents in the state, was closed on the order of the Federal Ministry of Health, following an alleged invasion of the hospital by thugs.
“Since then, our people have been travelling all the way to Abuja or Akure, Ibadan and Lagos for health conditions that could otherwise be treated at FMC, Lokoja.
“Patients with prior medical appointments now face the rigours of travelling, even at the risk of further complicating their health challenges.
“Many indigent patients are now forced to live in precarious conditions and several of those who can afford the trips to Abuja or other cities face increased likelihood of death.
“People from all the three senatorial districts and seven federal constituencies in Kogi State are stridently appealing to the conscience of the minister and others in authority for the reopening of FMC, Lokoja,” the lawmaker said in the statement.
According to him, the senselessness of a few irrational elements should not be the basis for which Kogi residents are punished.