In August 2019, the Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, kicked off the rehabilitation project of the state specialist hospital located in Asubiaro, Osogbo.
This was followed by the flag-off of the construction of the 120- bed ward along with the construction of doctors’ quarters at the hospital.
The government budgeted N6.1 million for the project aimed at expanding the existing facilities to avoid a shortage of bed spaces in the hospital. Out of this amount, N258, 882,608 was confirmed to have been released, according to details on the Public Procurement Agency website.
UDEME could not ascertain the full amount paid for the project as hospital management and state officials failed to provide information despite repeated requests.
The project was awarded to Werkmelster Facility Manager Limited and work started on site in August 2019. However, work stopped at the site in June 2021, leaving the project abandoned for close to one year now.
Hospital Users, Staff Complain
Meanwhile, staff and users of the hospital have expressed mixed feelings about the project.
One of the staff, who craved anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the project, said the non-availability of space, which prompted the project in the first place, is still an issue the hospital faces.
A trader around the hospital, who spoke to UDEME, has given up on attending the hospital for lack of better service.
“This hospital is a political hospital, so no one to really deal with them. I go to private or another hospital to treat myself,” she said.
Another user of the hospital, a middle-aged woman, who resides in Osogbo would rather the state government focus on rendering good service than erecting a new building.
“I can tell you the buildings are not necessary like recruiting enough personnel. Many times the doctors in this hospital are tired with work. And the situation in this hospital is that they transfer good doctors within a short period of time and also refuse to recruit more,” she said.
Most of the residents who spoke to UDEME asked their names not to be named for fear of victimisation.
Many staff members also declined comments.
Locating The Project
The first attempt by this reporter to locate the project in April 2022 was futile as staff members asked for direction declined the request. One of them, Femi Adewale, said this reporter needs a ‘letter of approval’ to visit the site as there are ‘lots of policemen around there.’
Two days later, this reporter visited again and was able to locate the project through the help of one of the security officials named Saheed.
This reporter found the project abandoned in a location within the hospital. Most of the surroundings are covered in bushes.
Also found on the site are abandoned engines, piles of sand, erected bamboo used during construction and other building materials. While some parts of the concrete wall have been plastered, many are still bare.
The status of the project shows there is still much work to be done on it to get it to completion.
Sources within the hospital said the site has been abandoned since June 2021.
Efforts made to contact the contractor were unsuccessful. A phone found linked to the company was called but the receiver denied having anything to do with the company.
“Why the project is abandoned,” – State Government
In an interview with UDEME, Dr Simeon Afolayan, a consultant surgeon at the hospital who is also a former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, confirmed the non-availability of space in the hospital.
“It’s still there, it’s under construction. [Do] you want us to be stagnant? Now we don’t even have enough beds for our patients, right we could be operating every day but we can’t do that now because of the non-availability of enough space and of course personnel too.”
He added that the project has been stalled due to the non-availability of money.
“Money is the problem really; you understand it is difficult in Nigeria to have enough money on the ground to execute a project. We didn’t give him the contractor the complete money, he finished all the money we gave him (in the course of executing the project),” Mr Afolayan said.
Dr Afolayan noted that he has reminded the governor of the need to complete the project. He read out the text message he sent to the governor to this U-Monitor.
“It’s not abandonment, it’s abandonment only if you gave money to somebody and he didn’t finish his own obligation, the contractor is not here and I am not holding a brief for him but he has not taken the full payment for the project,” Dr Afolayan said.
When asked about the effect of non-completion of the project on service delivery in the hospital, Dr Afolayan said: “Even if we don’t have enough beds here there are beds in the teaching hospital we don’t have much problem about that now.”
The State Commissioner for Health, Rafiu Isamotu, could not grant the physical interview he requested despite repeated efforts by this reporter to talk to him.
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