Okorocha shuts Imo general hospitals, doctors, patients affected

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Nurses-nigeria-owerri-protestThe Imo State Government, on Sunday, locked up all its general hospitals in state with the aid of suspected thugs and chased all the workers out thereby denying people access to healthcare services.

The affected General Hospitals were in Aboh Mbaise, Umuguma, Awo-Ommama, Arondizuogu, Ngor-Okpala, Ogwa.

Governor Rochas Okorocha had earlier announced the concession of health institutions, including primary health centres in the rural areas, as well as over 17 parastatals in the state.

Daily Times gathered that the state security outfit, the Imo Security Network, invaded different hospitals and forced every staff and patients out the hospitals.

When Daily Times visited Umuguma Specialist Hospital, in Owerri West Local Government Area, on Monday, fracas broke out between the leadership of the organised labour and operatives of Imo Security Network, when the labour union officials tried to reopen the hospital.

They later over-powered the men of Imo Security Network, led by former commissioner for Public Utilities, Dr. Ifeanyi Nwachukwu.

Confirming the incident, the State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Austin Chilakpu, expressed shocked that the state government could embark on such a move when the Federal Ministry of Labour through Industrial Arbitration Panel had intervened on the concession.

He said that the state government was directed to discuss the fate of workers with the organsed labour and report back for further discussion.

While Okorocha has embarked on building 27 general hospitals, the existing state owned hospitals were in the state of despair, while the state government had, for a long time stopped funding them.

Reacting, the Chairman Task Force on Health and former Commissioner for Health, Dr. Edward Ihejirika, admitted that the state government had closed down the hospitals to carry out renovations in them ahead of the takeover by the concessionaires.

Chairman of the Hospital Workers Welfare Association, Mrs. Ngozi Onyeaka, said the lock out was as a result of the workers refusing the concesssioning of the hospitals.

It was gathered that the workers were being owed 12 months’ salary, four months in arrears from 2014 and eight months in 2015. (Source: Daily Times)

Photo credit: www.imostateblog.com

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