By Amaechi Okwara
Akwa Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has revealed how bad the situation was at the Ibom Specialist Hospital before the multi-billion naira state-owned facility in Uyo was eventually shut down.
The hospital, built at the cost of N41 billion and inaugurated just two years ago by the previous administration of Godswill Akpabio, was shut down in September after the private managers, Cardiocare Medical Services Ltd, terminated their contract with the state government and withdrew from the facility.
The company was said to have had a disagreement with the state government over the funding of the hospital.
Emmanuel, just like the state Commissioner for Health, Dominic Ukpong, blamed the hospital closure on poor management.
The governor said things became so bad for the hospital to the extent that its managers weren’t able to pay the salaries of the medical consultants who were foreign nationals mostly from India.
“I took over the payment of salary, I paid the consultants from my imprest,” Mr. Emmanuel’s media aide, Aniekeme Finbarr, quoted the governor as saying over the weekend during a prayer meeting at Government House, Uyo. “I have the vouchers.”
Finbarr posted the governor’s remark, Sunday, on Facebook.
The governor continued: “If as a businessman I receive 50 per cent of the support we give to the person managing the Specialist Hospital, I will declare profit.
“Ask him, since the day he started managing the hospital whether he has paid one naira to the state government?…. It came to a point where I asked him ‘where is the money you are charging the patients? Can’t it be used in payment of salary in the hospital?”
Governor Emmanuel hinted that the government could prosecute Cardiocare Ltd.
“I took an oath that I would not place my interest above that of the state. If people don’t know certain things let them ask questions not to castigate the governor,” the governor said, adding that “I don’t play politics with the development of the people.”
He said the government would get a new management for the hospital.
Cardiocare declined comment on the closure of the hospital when Premium Times contacted it.