Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
A right group under the auspice of Edo Civil Society Organization (EDOCSO), yesterday, gave the Edo State government three days ultimatum to reverse the privatisation of the Edo Specialist Hospital or face the wrath of the masses.
The group who in a protest march, made an on-the-spot-assessment to the facilities at the Central Hospital, sang songs of displeasure and carried banners with the inscription “Edo people reject the privatization of our Specialist Hospital and access to healthcare is a right not a privilege”.
Addressing newsmen after the protest march, Coordinator General of the group, Omobude Agho said they have decided to come out to protest the handing over of the hospital built with the tax payers money to private individual to the detriment of the citizens of the state.
“Today, we are hear clearly to make a statement to Edo State Government that Edo people have rejected the privatisation of our state central or specialist hospital.
“We see that our taxpayers money was used to build this new edifice you called the five-star hotel which we expect would have been open for the benefit of the Edo people.
“Recently, we heard it has been given to a private construction, so we decided to come here today and take it. It indeed belongs to us and it must be for the people.
“We have met part of the management of that place and they have confirmed that this five-star hospital which nomenclature has been changed from Edo State specialist hospital to Edo Specialists hospital is a different entity from the Edo state specialist hospital.
“So in one compound, there are two entities; one is Edo state Specialist hospital where they still take card at the rate of N100 and Edo specialists hospital where they take card for N5,000.
“And in this place, we are aware that one doctor Moye who they brought from Lagos is the one that entered an MOU with the ministry of health on this privatisation.
“We have given them a three-day ultimatum which start counting from tomorrow, Saturday to Monday to vacate the premises.
“We want to take it over. It is better the place is under lock and key than to find a private management running it.
“So, we are saying that Edo people must have possession of our specialist hospital, it will be named properly as Edo State Specialist Hospital not Edo Specialist Hospital”, Agho stressed.
The Coordinated General of the group said it was wrong for the state government to have also asked patients to relocate from the Central Hospital to Stella Obasanjo Hospital instead of renovating and equipping it to standard to meet the need of the people.
“We also hear that the state government wants to move the dilapidated part which they call the state Specialist Hospital to join with Stella Obasanjo Women and Children Hospital where the poor can go and access medicare and probably die there while they are preserving this other five-star hospital for the exclusive rich people in the state. It is not acceptable by us, we stand to resist it,” he said.
He said by Tuesday, they would takeover the premises of the hospital pending when the issues surrounding the hospital are resolved.
“By Tuesday morning we shall reconvene here to come and enforce the quit notice we have issued to Dr. Moye and his Edo Specialist Hospital,” he said.