Hoodlums have invaded Kogi Central Medical Store, looted and vandalised medical equipment and consumables worth billions of Naira.
Dr Saka Audu, the State Commissioner for Health, 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.
Audu expressed shock over the unfortunate development, saying it would be very difficult for the state to recover from it.
He said that the state did not have the capacity to recover what had been carted away or vandalised in a short period without adequate external intervention and support.
“With a heavy heart I am obliged to make public a very sad development, the 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 benefit to these heartless invaders. The impact of this dastardly act will linger for a long time,” he said.
The commissioner said that the state was currently quantifying the extent of damage and would eventually make public the list of stolen items and cost implications.
He said that the state had lost the entire content of the medical store, saying not even office equipment or ordinary immunisation cards were spared.
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 immunisation will be disrupted; we will not be able to carry out routine immunisation for 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 a 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,”Audu said.
He appealed to the federal government, development partners, donor agencies and well meaning Nigerians to assist the 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 said that the cold room which was fully sponsored by the state government to be commissioned soon was destroyed, and that its 100KVA inverter and 36 solar batteries carted away.