MAIDUGURI, North-West, Nigeria – Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum, on Monday suspended all paid staff including resident Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, and Lab Technicians at the General Hospital in Ngala for abandoning patients.
The suspension came after an unscheduled visit on Monday morning proved that the entire staff, despite receiving salaries had abandoned the hospital to an International Non-Governmental Organization, fhi360, to manage hundreds of patients, majority of whom are Internally Displaced Persons, (IDPs) and residents.
Ngala is the headquarters of Ngala Local Government Area of Borno state. The border town is within an international land route into Cameroon, Chad, Sudan and Central Africa.
Liberated from Boko Haram’s control in 2015, Ngala is currently populated by thousands of returnees, many of whom are IDPs, forced to flee their villages and farmlands in the wake of attacks by boko haram. A good number of other residents are indigenes of the town.
Zulum had in his usual style of paying surprise midnight and daytime visits to schools and hospitals, showed up at the General Hospital in order to find out the realities of healthcare delivery to citizens.
He was disappointed to find that despite the high turn out of patients, not one of the many government paid staff, from doctors to the clerical staff was at the hospital as at 11am.
He was in fact received on arrival, by a Field Coordinator of fhi360, the iNGO left in control of the hospital, and saddened by what he found on ground, he ordered the suspension of all staff on the payroll of the State Government.
“This is a General Hospital belonging to Borno State Government, unfortunately there is no single state Government staff here to attend to all these patients, and we promptly pay all of them salaries.
“These humanitarian workers from the iNGO (fhi360) are supposed to complement the state Government staff but not to completely take over the Hospital.
“I am directing the Borno State Hospitals Management Board, if there is any staff on the payroll of this Hospital to immediately suspend all the workers on government payroll. I will be back to this hospital, hoping to see the opposite of what I saw today,” Zulum said.
In another development, Zulum inspected three schools in Ngala in preparation for the resumption of academic activities, and after the assessment ordered rehabilitation of classes destroyed by insurgents in all the three schools.
The affected schools include; Government Day Secondary School, Gamboru; Gamboru Central Junior Secondary and Primary School, and Central Primary School, Gamboru.
“These schools are not habitable. I will direct the Ministry of Education to put all measures in place for rehabilitation of the schools so students can resume classes,” Zulum added.
The Governor directed for patronage of local producers and dealers of building materials.
“I learnt we have block sellers in this town. Let’s patronize them to encourage local content, but I warn that quality of work must never compromised local content,” he cautioned.
Before leaving Ngala, Zulum announced plans to resettle IDPs in Logumani and Gajibo, two neighbouring communities in Ngala and Dikwa LGAs respectively.
He made the assertion while addressing a cross section of elders from the two communities when he hosted them at the premises of the Local Government Secretariat in Ngala.