OKERENKOKO—THE Delta State Government- owned Okerenkoko Cottage Hospital, Okerenkoko, Warri South-West Local Government Area of the state, renovated and furnished with state-of-the-art facilities by former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, after the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, abandoned it in 2009, has again been closed down.
Sources said that the hospital was locked up due to lack of funding following the current travails of Tompolo, who provided free health services to people of the area in the hospital. Security agents are hunting for Tompolo following a bench warrant by a Federal High Court in Lagos for his arrest.
At press time, all the medical personnel at the hospital, the only government health institution in Gbaramatu Kingdom, whose salaries were paid by Tompolo since 2014, have deserted the hospital. Among them were four doctors, four laboratory scientists, four pharmacists, eight nurses, four health recorders and other health workers, whom he personally employed to provide free health services to residents of Gbaramatu Kingdom, as a way of complementing government healthcare delivery.
Besides Gbaramatu Kingdom, the hospital also serves the riverine dwellers that troop from other parts of the state, Edo, Ondo and Bayelsa. The Tompolo Foundation established by the ex-militant leader took over both the Okerenkoko and Ogulagha cottage hospitals and had extended a helping hand to other government hospitals in Warri, Ekpan and Patani.
DESOPADEC, which initially ran the health facility, abandoned it in 2009 after the Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta, bombed and destroyed some facilities in the hospital while hunting for militants that allegedly killed some soldiers.
National President of Ijaw People Development Initiative, IPDI, Austin Ozobo, who spoke, yesterday, on the development, said: “The witch-hunt of Tompolo by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has crumbled medical services in Gbaramatu Kingdom, as the cottage hospital is the only health facility in the riverine area.”
“You can see the difficult situation that EFCC has foisted on the people, the commission has made Tompolo unavailable to continue with his humanitarian services of funding the only government health centre in the kingdom and that has made medical personnel under his pay roll to leave, as the government is not ready to continue payment and operation.”vanguard.