Suspected hoodlums who invaded the Kogi State Central Medical Store between Sunday and Tuesday have reportedly looted and vandalised medical equipment and consumables running into billions.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Saka Audu disclosed this at a press conference, on Wednesday, in Lokoja, after he led a team from the ministry and the media on inspection of the burgled facility located along the Zone 8 area.
The Nation reports that the commissioner expressed shock over the development, saying it would be very difficult to recover from it, stressing that the state does not have the capacity to recover what had been carted away or vandalised, within a short term period without adequate external intervention and support.
His words: ”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. That equipment that couldn’t be stolen, like the walk-in refrigerator for immunization, 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 dastardly act will linger for long.”
He said that the state was currently quantifying the extent of the damage and would eventually make public the list of stolen items and their 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 left untouched.”
According to him, medical equipment such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography machines, Digital Mammography, Digital Radiography, consumables, drugs, office furniture, air conditioners, solar power units, and fans, among others were either looted or vandalised.
”The implication of this is that the drug supply chain and the 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 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… That 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 said.
He appealed to the Federal Government, development partners, donor agencies, and well-meaning Nigerians to assist the Kogi State government in that regard.