Abstract: One year after completion, the quarters are yet to be open for use.
On a Friday afternoon in April, this reporter set out on a mission; a mission to locate and ascertain the status of a doctors’ quarters consisting of 30 housing units at the Osun State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo.
The project, awarded in 2019 was meant to cater for the accommodation of house officers undergoing their mandatory one-year house service.
Lying behind the School of Nursing and Midwifery within the hospital is the large expanse of land on which the freshly minted structure is located, the building is however unoccupied. Sources within the hospital said the work was completed around April 2021.
The project, with reference number SOM/048/38, was awarded to Dotfam Multiventures Limited on 27th June 2019, according to information on the website of the Public procurement agency of the state. The project cost N130, 603, 235.96.
When UDEME visited the site, the unoccupied building had weeds growing around it. The floor is water-logged due to the rainfall of the previous night.
“Yes, there is a [staff] quarter but it’s meant for interns – house officers,” Dr Adeoye, one of the hospital staff who refused to give her other name because she’s the ‘only one with that last name in the department’, said pointing towards the direction of the quarters. “I have not been there but I know it’s on that side,” she added.
By interns, Dr Adeoye meant medical doctors who had just graduated and were required to undergo a year’s training before being granted a license to practice as a medical doctor. From findings, the hospital has 12 interns.
Many of the staff whom this reporter approached refused to comment on the status of accommodation for doctors at the hospital.
One of such interns, Alex Ajala, a graduate of the Ekiti State university undergoing his one-year mandatory internship, who shuttles the over seven kilometres distance between his house and the hospital, commended the state government for the project.
“They have tried by putting up the project. House officers’ quota for the hospital is about twelve, so for them to build a thirty housing unit for that purpose showed that they have tried,” Mr Ajala, who works at the trauma centre of the hospital said but he wants the project to come to use.
“It’s not enough to put up a building project, it has to be furnished. If you have been there, you would notice that the place is still empty,” he added when asked about the status of the project.
Why The Building Is Not In Use
Dr Adeleke Lukman, the Procurement Desk Officer at the state Ministry of Health said the use of the building was stalled since it hasn’t been commissioned yet.
“There were actually two projects that were awarded at the same time, the other project being a bigger project is yet to be completed so they are waiting for the completion of the other project so that projects can be commissioned together,” he said.
The second project he is referring to is the 120-bed hospital at the State Specialist Hospital Asubiaro, Osogbo. The project cost a sum of N130, 603, 235.96. During a visit to the site, workers were not on-site and the building which is still under construction is yet to reach an advanced stage of completion.
The Chief Consultant of the Hospital, Dr Tolu Opakunle, could not give more information on the status and use of the building, citing the civil service oath of secrecy. He however stated that the building is yet to be handed over to the hospital. He also directed this UDEME to the state ministries of health and works.
Efforts to get the reaction of the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Works on the project proved abortive as he was said to have gone for a management meeting at the second attempt to meet with him. He was similarly unavailable during the first attempt.
“Waiting To Commission Slows Development,” – CSO Actors
Umar Yakubu, the Executive Director Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch, while reacting to the practice of waiting for completed projects to be ceremoniously commissioned before use, said the practice is slowing development.
“Public expenditure is meant for the desired outcome. Projects are meant to have an impact on the development of society. If it is not utilised, it means it is slowing development. Timeliness is Godliness.”
Folorunso Olawale, the Youth Coordinator of Nigeria Red Cross Society, Osun State Branch, wants more pressure groups to influence the state government to make facilities available after use.
“If the government is not commissioning the project in their jurisdiction, consultation and enquiries should be made through the local heads and through pressure (on state government). Enquiries on why the project is not yet commissioned (should be made). I’m sure the government will see the needs and necessity to either complete such a project or commission it as urgent needs,” he said.
Keywords: Doctors quarters, Osun state government, general hospital
This investigation was carried out by a u-monitor for the UDEME project. UDEME is an initiative of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, under its Accountability Programme.
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