There was optimism among residents of the Omoniyi community in Akure North local government of Ondo State when the construction of a primary health centre started in 2020. The primary health centre was meant to provide healthcare to residents.
Two years later, however, the project remains abandoned. During a visit in April and later in August, this reporter saw the uncompleted project abandoned on-site.
In 2020, Omolafe Adedayo, the then lawmaker representing the Akure South/North constituency at the House of Representatives, nominated the construction of the Basic Healthcare Centre in the federal constituency. The project cost N14 million, according to documents obtained from the supervising agency, Border Community Development Agency (BCDA).
Meanwhile, public data found on the website of the Accountant-General of the Federation’s office shows that zonal intervention projects initiated in 2020 were fully funded.
Sadly, the project nominated by the lawmaker is currently in a sorry state. Residents said they last saw construction workers on-site in July 2021.
Like many others who should have benefitted from the project, Balogun Segun, a resident, expressed frustration over the abandoned project.
“Whenever we fall sick, we trek to a far distance to visit the nearest healthcare centre around us. We were happy when this project started as it would have relieved us a bit. But now, we do not know when they will complete this project as it is now a year since they stopped working on the site,” he said.
Residents groan; health care centre abandoned
When UDEME first visited Omoniyi in April 2022, residents said there was no government health facility in the whole community.
On another visit in August, this reporter eventually found the building on the outskirts of the town. A resident, Adekanbi Taiwo, said the project was abandoned due to the demise of the lawmaker who initiated it.
He added that the current lawmaker, Michael Lawson-Alade, has given no assurances to complete this healthcare facility.
The building for the health centre is located on top of a rocky hill at the far end of the community. The structure has been built and roofed, but nothing more than that.
Mr Taiwo called on the authorities to complete the project.
“Government should come to our aid in completing this project so that our kids and family can have access to healthcare facilities which will relieve them of the stress of going as far as miles to get one.”
Lawmaker raises hope
UDEME reached out to the current lawmaker, Micheal Lawson-Alade, representing Akure South and North Federal Constituency, who was elected in February to replace the immediate past lawmaker who died in 2021. Mr Omolafe initiated the project in 2020.
Mr Lawson-Alade assured UDEME of his readiness to ensure that all abandoned projects are completed before he leaves office.
“This project is very important and must be completed in due time. All works have been in progress to see that all projects in the constituency are completed on time,” he said.
He noted that he won’t probe any expenditure that has been spent on any project because ‘there was no need for that.’
“We live on herbal medicine”
UDEME spoke to some residents on another visit in August. All of them said they use herbal medicine since there is no health centre to cater to their health needs.
“Sometimes, my wife gets traditional herbs for us to use when we fall sick since we can not trek to the nearest hospital as it is far,” Seun Akadri, a 47-year-old trader, said.
Like Mr Akadri, Ademidun Ahmed spoke of using traditional herbal medicine in the community.
“The residents have resorted to the use of herbal medicine rather than going a long distance to get treatment. Some involved themselves in self-medication.”
Bimbo Oluwatuyi wants the project completed as soon as possible.
“The health centre was our hope to get access to quality treatment. What we need is for the government to complete it as most of the residents are committed to using traditional herbs for their treatment,” she said.
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