From Chuks Collins, Awka
The rot that has become the lot of the ‘Nigerian system’ became manifest in Awka, the Anambra state capital with the sudden discovery of no fewer than four brand new ventilators by officials of the state Ministry of Health, in the store.
The discovery was coming on the heels of a presidential promise by President Donald Trump as part of goodies from his recent telephone conversation with our President Muhammadu Buhari two days ago, that the United States of America would assist Nigeria in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, with some ventilators.
Our investigation revealed that the all-important ventilators that has become very strategic in the fight against the ravaging Covid-19 were procured by the administration of former Governor Peter Obi shortly before he left office. And that along with many other key novel medical equipment, were left literally abandoned in their containers unopened, apparently unaccounted for ever since until someone now stumbled on them.
A source at the state Ministry of Health revealed that more such discoveries would be made as there were many necessary medical equipment, were procured by Obi for stocking and standardizing the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) Teaching Hospital Amaku-Awka before leaving office, to give it a deserved referral hospital status.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Commissioner of Health, Dr Okpala proved abortive as several calls /messages to his telephone remained unanswered and unreplied.
But the former Commissioner of Health Prof Amobi Linus Ilika who was incharge when the the ventilators acquired disclosed that they were part of medical equipment bought by the state government then, shortly before it left office. That most of the supplies could not be put to immediate use at the time.
According to him, “…there could be more, including kidney dialysis machines some of which may be obsolete if not used.
“I can’t remember how many we bought. They were part of medical equipment I bought in the United States of America on behalf of the state government.
“The Government of Mr. Peter Obi bought six container loads of medical equipment and the contents were packed in that big store near Fire Service building along Enugu-Onitsha expressway.
“They should check for more equipment in that big store because there are a lot of them that were procured and secured there before we left office”.
Prof Ilika bemoaned lack of continuity and disfunctional inventory supervision in most public affairs.
It would be noted that some countries were currently able to acquire just two or less ventilators, while Anambra has four abandoned in its warehouse.
Many have continued to ask from journalists where the state’s Covid-19 test Centre was located and when citizens would start getting tested besides suspected cases.
They argued that with about four isolation centres being lavishly advertised, no one was saying anything about the testing centres, as they fear an upsurge in the pandemic incidences as already pointed out by experts and the Federal Government with the relaxing of the initial strict lockdown rules by most states including Anambra.