Hoodlums invaded Kogi State Central Medical Store, looted and vandalised medical equipment and consumables worth billions of naira.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Audu, disclosed this at a press conference on Wednesday, after he led a team from the ministry and the media to inspect the burgled medical store located along Zone 8, Lokoja.
The commissioner expressed shock over the unfortunate development, saying it would be very difficult for Kogi to recover from it.
He stressed that the state does not have the capacity to recover what had been carted away or vandalised in a short term period without adequate external intervention and support.
”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.
”Those equipment that couldn’t be stolen like the walk-in refrigerator for immunisation, 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 dastard act will linger for long”, Audu said.
He added that the state was currently quantifying the extent of the damage and would eventually make public the list of stolen items and 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 untouched.
According to him, medical equipment such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Computed Tomography machines, Digital Mammography, Digital Radiography, consumables, drugs, office furniture, air conditioners, solar power unit, fans, among others were either looted or vandalised.
”The implication of this is that the Drug Supply Chain and 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.
”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 lamented sobbing!
He appealed to the federal government, development partners, donor agencies and well-meaning Nigerians to assist Kogi State Government in that regard.
Also speaking, Dr Abubakar Yakubu, the Executive Director, Kogi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (KSPHCDA), noted that 20 tonnes capacity Cold Room recently built for vaccines by the agency was completely vandalised.
He stressed that the cold room which was fully sponsored by the state government to be commissioned soon were destroyed, and its 100KVA inverter and 36 solar batteries carted away.
”It has brought us back to grand zero. I want us to know that it will take plenty years for us to recover from what has happened in Kogi.
”It will take a very serious intervention and support of the federal government and donor partners for us to recover from it”, Yakubu said.
Others who spoke at the press conference were: Dr Usaman Zakari, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) Kogi Hospital Management Board; Mr Ariko Ahmed, the Director Pharmaceutical Services; Dr Kunle Aledare, the Executive Secretary, Kogi Health Insurance among others.