The CRS Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu has condemned in strong terms the recent attack, vandalization and looting of the World Health Organisation office, State Essential Drug Store (EDP), COVID-19 Reference Laboratory, Infectious Disease Hospital (Lawrence Henshaw Memorial Hospital), Adiabor Isolation Center, primary Health facilities in Calabar south, Akpabuyo and Bakassi as well as the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Calabar. Going on site visit to assess the extent of damage with an entourage consisting of Perm Sec SMOH, DG CRSPHCDA, DG SACA, NCDC Abuja Director, WHO officials, Board members, Directors at ministry, Heads of facilities affected amongst other staff, the Commissioner said what the team saw was unbelievable and completely unacceptable.
Dr Edu who was disappointed at the massive destruction of very important infrastructures in the health sector of the State noted that this actions has taken the state many steps backwards and it will cost a whole lot to get this institutions back on their feet.
She was shocked and saddened by the fact that young people will go that low to hurt and destroy themselves and the vulnerable in society. “ how can you steal HIV drugs and TB drugs that are given free of charge? What will you do with it??? How can you steal highly infectious TB samples, COVID-19 samples HIV samples, carried refrigerators with this samples in them to their homes and families. Why will you want to kill yourselves or Family members and have outbreak of diseases in your communities?. How do you see a mentally challenged person or a sick person (who is vulnerable )throw them off the hospital bed and take the mattresses? What exactly came over us? What were they thinking?? when people destroy health facilities? What will serve them when they fall ill? Who will care for their wives and children? Your aged parents? Who are the people employed there, are they not 90% young Cross Riverians, Who cast this spell on us? This is not who we are as a people and this is definitely not what the Nigerian youth represent!”
“As we know, the #ENDSAR protest was seen as a fair ask by many but it has now degenerated into a high level of criminality with hoodlums and enemies of the state hijacking the protest. No normal Youth will go ahead to destroy anywhere talk more of such important places that have been in use for over a century, used by us every single minute of our lives . It’s a shame that as Youths we could condescend so low to destroy this very important places. There is no reason to justify or support this unthinkable regressive act because criminality and vandalism does not know rich or poor, it affects everyone in society and too soon we all will be left to rumble in the ashes left!
“Like in the EDP, essential drugs were completely destroyed, the Cold Room housing this drugs were all vandalized, offices, partners/government vehicles and everything of importance were all completely destroyed. in the IDH where our Genexpert machines used for COVID-19 and TB testing, the Abbott PCR machines, the entire hospital and other very essential machines/equipments were all destroyed or stolen. as I speak we are at ground zero. But we are not deterred, we will start from the beginning rebuilding and returning them back to levels better than where there were.”
Dr Edu assured cross riverians that the government of Sen Prof Ben Ayade will continue to do her best to return back this places to better levels of functionality as soon as possible working with other stakeholders as well as partners who have already been contacted to support the rebuilding process. She called on Cross Riverians to expose anyone with government properties while still advising on the need for people to be very careful as both TB, COVID-19, and other dangerous/infectious diseases samples were all carted away and the contagiousness puts us all at high risk.
Recovering of some looted items is still ongoing as the Health Commissioner went on a tour round the State capital to help recover some of the stolen/looted items and the result so far has been encouraging as she set aside her birthday celebration to carry out the exercise stating that the health and welfare of cross riverians comes first and remains her top most priority.