*Destroy properties, cart away laptops, vital documents
*Its protest by relations of patients in the facility – Kogi govt
*PDP expresses shock over violent attach on FMC
Barely 48 hours after Kogi State governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello said coronavirus is a sham
and that Nigerians are being made to accept the reality of COVID-19 “by force,” yet to be
identified gunmen yesterday attacked the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Lokoja, Kogi State
capital, and disrupted a COVID-19 press conference.
It was reported that the hospital had scheduled a media briefing to demand a COVID-19
screening centre in the state and to speak about challenges health workers are facing in
regards to the disease.
Reports further had it that the gunmen arrived the health facility in three vehicles and shot
sporadically to disperse the meeting during which workers were said to have been harassed
while their laptops and other valuables were taken away.
However, in a swift reaction, the state government said that the preliminary findings of the
ugly incident shows that the violence was caused by relations of patients using the facility of
the medical centre as they protested against the failure of the management of the hospital to
attend to them appropriately.
The statement issued by the state Commissioner for Information and Communication,
Kingsley Fanwo, said that many people in the Emergency Ward were left unattended to and
that a mother delivered at the gate of the hospital which generated a lot of public tension in
"Tension started building since yesterday (Tuesday) when patients and their relatives learnt
of a plan by the medical staff to stage a protest seeking protection from Covid-19," he noted.
He urged the people of the state to remain calm as government would ensure maintenance of
law and order, adding that "we also sue for calm and urge medical authorities to remain
committed to their medical profession and responsibilities as government will protect them in
order to give them the confidence to deliver.
"Healthcare management must never be politicised,” the statement added.
He said that government would carry out further investigations to ascertain the remote causes
of the breach of peace by the protesters and also address their fears.
Fanwo added further that the Kogi State Government will also make the state-owned
Specialist Hospital available to patients in critical condition and who are denied medical
attention by the authority of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja.
For its part, the state police command confirmed the incident, saying that when they got the
wind of the situation, men of the command were drafted to the hospital to restore law and
According to the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, DSP Williams Aya, the
situation is under control, but the management of the hospital has not formally reported the
incident to the command.
In the melee that followed, an eyewitness said workers and staff of the hospital flee for their
dear lives when the invading protesters forcefully entered the premises of the hospital and
started destroying its properties.
However, the management of the federal government owned hospital kept mum as all efforts
made to get them to speak failed.
The Chief Medical Director, Dr Tunde Alabi refused to respond to repeated calls to his cell
phone, including series of text messages sent to him.
Also reacting to the incident, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, condemned the violent
attack’ especially given allegations in the public space that the gunmen were sponsored by
the state government, which was earlier alleged to have ordered Kogi people not to visit the
medical center for their medications, following ts reported disagreement with the Nigeria
Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, on the state’s COVID-19 status.
In the statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan PDP insisted
that such an attack on a medical facility cannot be justified under any guise, whatsoever.
“It is however revealing that the gunmen shot their way into the Medical Center at the time
the staffers were getting ready for a press conference on issues related to the state’s COVID –
19 status; invaded the record and admin department where they destroyed sensitive
documents and carted away computers, in addition to ransacking the office of the Chief
“It is instructive to state that the target and mode of the attack strongly expose a desperate
mission to destroy gathered information, suppress statistics and completely disrupt COVID-
19 management effort in state,” the party added.
It therefore called on the security agencies to immediately commence a high level
investigation into the attack and ensure that the gunmen and their sponsors are made to face
the wrath of the law.