Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Management of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), has stated that there are no plans whatsoever to shut down the isolation centre at the hospital.
The contractor and Managing Director, Obi Achara Ltd, Mr Obi Jmaes Achare, had during press briefing in Calabar threatened to use all legal means to shut down the isolation centre.
Obi claimed that he had written a series of letters on the need to offset the amount of N68m owed him to no avail.
Dismissing the contractor’s claim as spurious, the Chief Medical Director of University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, Prof Ikpeme Ikpeme, in a press statement made available to journalists in Calabar during the weekend, said the present management had engaged the contractor, Mr Obi Achara, constructively on the project and wondered why he should blackmail them publicly.
Prof Ikpeme disclosed that a percentage of the contract sum had long been paid to him by the immediate past administration.
According to him, the contract for the isolation centre, which is the only one within Cross River, Ebonyi and Benue states for now, was awarded by the immediate past administration in 2017 following the outbreak of Lassa fever for N68m only.
He said: “The current situation with the Coronavirus pandemic is a matter of urgent national interest, and at times like this, the safety, health and security of citizens take precedence over any individual interest.
“It was in recognition of this fact that the current management acted proactively and approached the contractor to hand over the centre just as we have requested him to furnish us with evidence of due process concerning the aforesaid contract.
“Despite issues, which have to be corrected, the present management has engaged Mr Obi Achara constructively on this project. Therefore, it is not right for Mr Obi Ochara to capitalise on the COVID- 19 pandemic to attempt to blackmail the hospital.”
He advised members of the public not to panic as the management had activated the isolation centre but has put in place some proactive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the measures include drilling the nurses and other medical staff in readiness for any possible case of COVID-19.
The CMD further advised members of the public, especially patients without appointments not to be present at the out-patient clinics as they will attend only to individuals with valid appointments just as they have discouraged non-essential visits to the hospital.