By Olawale Ibrahim, Lokoja
Kogi State Government has condemned the looting and vandalization of the State Central Medical Store by hoodlums where medical equipment and consumables worth billions of naira were destroyed.
The government also urged the looters to return the drugs and medical equipment carted away in the interest of the state, warning that anyone found with these items would be made to face the wrath of the law.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu who disclosed this while conducting the newsmen round the scene of the incident at the medical store located along Zone 8, Lokoja.
Audu expressed shock over the unfortunate development, saying it would be very difficult for Kogi to recover from it.
He stressed that the state does not have the capacity to recover what had been carted away in a short term period without adequate external intervention and support.
”With a heavy heart, I am obliged to make public a very sad development, a kind of which I have never witnessed in my whole life. The Kogi State Central Medical Store was burgled and equipment worth billions of naira were stolen.
”Those equipment that couldn’t be stolen like the walk in refrigerator for immunisation, components of MRI/CT Scan machines were vandalised beyond repair, while others were moved from the store and broken into pieces in nearby bushes.
”The situation is indeed worrisome and should be a cause for concern to all Kogites as it sets us back many paces in our efforts to provide quality healthcare to all.
”It is also beyond my comprehension as the items in our store bear no semblance to food items which could be of benefits to these heartless invaders. The impact of this dastard act will linger for long”, Audu said.
He added that the state was currently quantifying the extent of the damage and would eventually make public the list of stolen items and cost implications.
He stressed that the state had lost the entire content of the medical store, saying not even office equipment or ordinary immunization cards were untouched.
According to him, medical equipment such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Computed Tomography machines, Digital Mammography, Digital Radiography, consumables, drugs, office furniture, air conditioners, solar power unit, fans, among others were either looted or vandalised.
”The implication of this is that the Drug Supply Chain and cold chain for routine immunization will be disrupted; we will not be able to carry out routine immunization to the good people of Kogi State.
”This is one of the saddest moments in my entire tenure as the commissioner for health, as I keep picturing a gloomy and uncertain aftermath for the Kogi State Health Sector. I am heartbroken and we are at a loss on how to come out of this predicament.
“A store that successive State Government Administrations and Health Development Partners have invested billions of naira to equip was emptied in a matter of hours is heart wrecking”, the Commissioner lamented.