BY JOHN ABUDOM, LOKOJA – A scheduled media briefing with intent to demand for a COVID-19 screening Centre in Kogi State was taken over by allegedly sponsored armed men that ran riots at the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State capital.
The armed men, who invaded the premises of the Federal Medical Centre unannounced and uninvited with assaulted guns pounced on any and every available person that included doctors, nurses, other health workers and journalists that gathered for a media briefing on the effect of COVID-19 in the State for which Governor Yahaya Bello has bluntly refused to accept its existence in the confluence State.
Just as the media briefing was about to commence, the armed men arrived the premises of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in three vehicles and started shooting sporadically to disperse the gathering for the media briefing.
In the melee that followed, some workers got badly beaten and injured while a few lucky one were able to escape the attacks from the armed men. Those injured were later conveyed to another hospital for medical attention.
The hoodlums did not stop at attacking people that gathered for the media briefing but extended their destructive capacities to smashing of windows, door glasses, desktops, laptops, phones, ATM cards, files and also carted away the prepared text for the briefing.
The foiled media briefing according to the organisers was to demand a COVID-19 Screening Centre in the state as a means of halting the death rate arising from the pandemic.
One of the doctors told Forefront News that “it is time to expose the series of lies from the Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration on COVID-19 particularly against the backdrop of recent deaths of highly place personalities in the State. How long can we continue to live in lies?”
He further said; “The figures of dead people from COVID-19 in the state are worrisome and alarming. The Chief Judge of the of the State and the President of the State Customary Court of Appeal and others, died from COVID-19 related cases. Their medical records are there for anyone to read.
“In spite of the recorded deaths, Governor Bello still believes that COVID-19 is a hoax meant to deceive people of the North-Central state.” The doctor, whose name is not in print for security reasons, explained that the media briefing was to also address the myriad of difficulties facing health workers in the state with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the invasion and destruction by the armed men which lasted for over 30 minutes, personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) stationed at the hospital were unable to confront and contain the hoodlums owing to what one of the NSCDC described as the superior fire power of the armed men.
According to the NSCDC personnel said; “You can see that the guys were well armed and far more in number than the few of us here. Any attempt to challenge them would have been disastrous”.