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Abandoned ₦160 Million Maternity Centre Is Rotting Away In Ondo State

Funmilayo Alaba woke up suddenly around 1 p.m. feeling a sharp pain in her belly. 

The time to deliver her baby came sooner than expected. Her husband swiftly gathered the necessary materials to aid the child’s delivery at the hospital. 

But there was a problem: He had no fuel in his car. After approaching about five neighbours, one finally agreed to help him with his vehicle. They drove straight to the hospital, enduring a long and rough journey. 

When they arrived at the hospital, another problem arose. The woman could only deliver her baby through surgery. The cost of the surgery, ₦300,000, caused them severe panic.

“As a struggling farmer, where could I possibly find such money?” the husband pondered.

He wished the Obstetric Centre, five minutes away from their house in the Supare-Akoko area of Ondo, was functional when his wife wanted to deliver her child. The maternity centre, initiated and facilitated by Robert Boroffice, a former Senator representing the area, has betrayed the purpose of its existence, residents said.

Obstetric Centre

The sight of the unused health facility was frustrating for the woman and her husband.

“Open the centre, equip it, and let it serve its purpose. Don’t let another family endure the nightmare we faced,” the man said, letting out his frustration. “The abandoned centre is a painful reminder of broken promises and halted lives. Let’s transform it from a symbol of neglect into a beacon of hope for mothers and children in Ondo.”

In 2020, former Senator Boroffice earmarked ₦100 million to construct an obstetric centre in the Supare-Akoko area of the state. The project was subsequently assigned directly to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja.

The following year, the senator reallocated the same project to the same ministry and agency, but at a reduced cost of N60 million.

The project received a budget allocation of N160 million, yet it remained overgrown with bushes and failed to serve its purpose.

Side View of the Obstetric Centre

Townspeople told Campus Reporter that the abandonment of the maternity centre killed their aspirations to have a viable health facility in the axis.

Olaloye Timileyin, a farmer in the town, recalled how some miscreants in the community harassed workers at the site of the health centre with bribery demands.  He added that although some of the equipment intended for the centre had been delivered, they were stolen by unknown thugs in the area.

Adedeji Adebayo, the regent of Supare-Akoko, told our reporter that failure to commission the obstetric centre has already defeated its significance. She described the project as “redundant”, especially because it has been abandoned.

Justifying why he built the health centre, however, the senator argued that the only hospital in Ondo North is the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owo town. He added that the facilities in the hospital are overstretched.

He also said he intended to build a satellite health centre that would be affiliated with the FMC. It wasn’t the first time he would execute such a project; in 2018, he inaugurated a 24-bed obstetric centre in the Oka-Akoko area of the state, with medical professionals from the FMC.

“I have tried my best as a senator to assist in getting allocations for FMC Owo to run those institutions,” he bragged. “Now if our people believe in self-help why can’t Supare people mobilise the youths to clear a facility built to help them?”

Boroface noted that the Supare Obstetric Centre has not been completed and he doesn’t know what hinders it. “Go to NASENI and find out, I am a facilitator and I have done what is required of me by putting the project in the budget,” he said.

Project Signpost of Salient Ventures Limited

Campus Reporter contacted Salient Ventures Limited, the company handling the construction of the obstetric centre, via phone. The representative of the company, who refused to mention his name, claimed that the federal government only made a 30% initial payment to the company, through the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NESANI). He stressed that since 2021 when the initial payment was made, he has not received any funding for the project from the government.

He noted that the company has been paying to secure the maternity facility, placing a community member on a monthly salary to guard it.

“We have been paying 5,000 monthly since 2021 up to date hoping the Federal Government or NESANI will release more funds for the project, what you see here is what the 30% given to us can do,” the contractor said.

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