The General Hospital, Ibiaku Ntok Okpo in Ikono local government area of Akwa Ibom State was built to cater for the health needs of the teeming rural populace of the area and Ini local government area regarded as the food basket of the state in addition to their neighbouring communities.
Established in 1991, the state government-owned hospital temporarily became ‘games reserve’ where wild animals and grown trees competed for attention and space.
It was alleged that attempts by the then military administrator of Akwa Ibom, Air Commodore (rtd) Idongesit Nkanga to move the hospital’s equipment to another area were defiantly resisted by some indigenes of the area.
Speaking on a private radio station in Uyo, Itoro Columba, the Ikono local government boss, could not hide his joy as the hospital which was in a state of disrepair, desolation and abandonment has reclaimed its status today, courtesy of Governor Udom Emmanuel administration.
“Before now, we had killed 32 games in the hospital. It was abandoned even medical personnel used to reject posting to the hospital,” Columba stated this Monday on Comfort 95.1 FM, Uyo in a programme anchored by Michael Bush.
According to him, “Before renovation of the hospital, the government directed clearance of the site and during this time the indigenes mowed 32 games to make the hospital safe for renovation and subsequent habitation by medical personnel and patients.”
A senior worker, who spoke in confidence, said: “There is no power supply here; there are no toilets, no water, no workers. Doctors don’t live here. The place is now snake-infested. The quarters are not good. So, we cannot handle patients most of the times. We need total renovation here. Government officials came here sometime ago, talked with us, took pictures of the extent of decay and left.”
It was learnt that whenever it rained, the water came in from the theatre and other wards in the upper floors of the building. The roof of the hospital had broken down.
“We always pray that it does not rain because the whole place leaks,” a senior official told our correspondent.
The equipment in the theatre, laboratory, X-ray and every other department had been abandoned. The buildings were covered by bushes.
A visit to the workers’ quarters, including the home of the resident doctor, was also abandoned.
Nobody was occupying the buildings because they had broken down and were in bushes. The few nurses and other workers appeared helpless.
The workers said they used torch lights in the night because of snakes.
Yet, the story has now changed as the health institution was renovated, digitalised and inaugurated.
The Ikono local government chief was also happy with the governor for the construction and inauguration of the 4.6 kilometres Mbiafun Nkwongo -Nung Ukim Road in Ikono.
Recall that during the inauguration of the road, Emmanuel thanked the people for their understanding during the construction of the road which hitherto was impassable, urging them to continue to conduct their affairs peacefully to aid timely execution of other projects in the area.
The Governor stated that he was delighted that the road was constructed in accordance with international standard to ensure durability, noting that “the quality of side drains we have here is one of the best and everything we have done is to stand the test of time.”
He explained that the inaugurated road represented several other roads executed by his administration in Ikono, noting that the road was installed with the latest technology of the solar-powered street lighting system.
The local government chairman scored the governor high for sending a bill to the state House of Assembly now ready to assent into law to upgrade the school to College of Science and Technology in the area.
He hoped that the school when fully operational would benefit from TETFUND, employ indigenes of the area and increase students’ enrolment to help in boosting the economy of the area.
The 4.6 km road project, awarded to an indigenous contracting firm in October 2015, kicked off in February, 2016, and completed in October 2017, has access to the school located in the area.