By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
A cross section of Ekwulobia indigenes from Agba village took to the streets yesterday in a peaceful protest over the dilapidation of the general hospital, Ekwulobia and abandoned Isuofia- Agba Ekwulobia-Eke Ekwulobia road for over ten years now.
The villagers said the general hospital in Agba Ekwulobia is in total mess and bereft of any form of government presence. The borehole is a source of disease as the water is yellow.
They said it has been a total shame to what could be described as a government establishment as most of the structures within the hospital environment numbering over 10 were long dilapidated and abandoned. They alleged that some of the structures have been overgrown by bushes. Some other building meant to be upstairs like doctors qurters as obtainable in other hospital were down stairs in Ekwulobia general hospital.
Our reporter observed that some of the structures are no better than anthills and mostly dominated by lizards and other dangerous animals while the only functional structure in the state owned general hospital is the mortuary that is filled with corpses of people that could not survive the shambolic treatments the hospital has faced.
Further findings revealed that the hospital has acute shortage of man power as the staff are mostly made up of corps members who are on volunteer services. The hospital premises as a result have been converted to a farmland where willing farmers go to cultivate different species of crops. It is only the farms that gave it a smell of occasional human presence.
Unlike what is obtainable in a General hospitals like Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Awka, or other general hospitals in the state, the maternity center of the hospital was a complete mockery of the hospital as tick bushes have swallowed up the entire staircase leading to the upstairs. Most of the provisions earlier made by the previous administrations are long gone typical example being the gory state of the emergency van originally meant for conveying critically ill patients are long abandoned in the hospital accumulating dusts and depreciating day after day.
More disheartening is the fact that the generator plant site of the said general hospital has fallen apart having been totally overgrown by bush and inhabited by wild animals. Where then would electricity to a general hospital come from in a country that is known for her unsteady power supply and expected to perform surgeries on patience.
Worthy of note is also the abandoned projects that litter the hospital premises one of which has lasted for ten years and more. The projects were initiated by the Gov. Peter Obi administration before he left office only to be abandoned by the government till today.
Indigenes Groan over Poor state of Roads in Agba
Traversing through the new Eke Market, Ekwulobia to the Agba community is dreadful as the road has been eaten up by erosion in the past. The erosion which has continued to torment the people of the area has turned the road to a deep gutter in that residents have to climb to get to their homes.
The passage that leads into the government owned general hospital is only a death trap to whoever that will try to jump down from the verge of the gutter. One will then ask, how are patients taken to the said hospital? People were seen climbing up and down to enter their various streets while the aged who could not climb resort to help from passers-by who are only willing to give helping hands.
The town, still recuperating from the extreme sufferings of the raining season has cried foul over the state of their road first to their representatives to government who they described as saboteurs and presently to the government itself having being jeopardized by her very own that are only after their pockets while the town suffers. It has subjected the residents of the area to early fear of the coming rainy season as the road will clearly be impassable when rain comes.
Indigenes took to the streets
The indigenes of Agba village in Ekwulobia, Aguata local government area took to the streets to complain to the general public the state of their roads and the deplorable state of the general hospitals domiciled in the area to cater for the health needs of the people of the area and beyond.
The peaceful protest was led by the Executive of Agba Village Development Union led by Mr. Bertrand Uchechukwu Ezeokoli was aimed at calling the attention of the Governor Willie Obiano led government to intervene and rescue the people from the pitiable condition it has found itself.
The protesters made up of Young Children, youths and adults of the village marched on the streets carrying placards with various inscriptions ranging from ” Social Contracts are not kept,” “Election are coming again o,” “Save Our Soul Mr. Governor,” “Are We Remembered Only During Elections” and so many others as they marched through the streets to the Ekwulobia General Hospital to show the public the Ugly state of things in the hospital.
In his address, the chairman said that the village has been pushed to the wall over the condition of their road. He said that the reason while they staged the peaceful protest was to let the government know that they are no more relaxed with the state of their road and hospital.
His words: “We are here to notify the government that we are in hell. We are suffering. We have no access to our homes and medical treatments. We are dying in this place called Agba in Ekwulobia. Let government come to our aid. Are we still part of Anambra state? If yes, why are we being treated like slaves? Let them remember that election is still coming and we cannot vote while our back is on ground. With this condition, no politician should enter this environment for campaign or whatever.”
“There is no road; people are carrying corpse in their hands to the mortuary because there is no road to pass. The hospital is long dilapidated with bush everywhere, in fact nothing is working. When you visit the hospital you find out that there is no staff. One nurse has two or three shifts at same time in different departments of the hospital.
“For government to take our land and build non functional institution like this is not acceptable. If the government is not interested in uplifting the hospital then they should give us back our land let us build houses on them, rent it out and generate revenue.”
“Agba people have no one to speak for them that’s why we are speaking for ourselves. In fact, many of the representatives of this community are saboteurs who are only looking for something to fill their pockets. We came out massively to inform the government that we are not happy with state of the general hospital. We want to see this hospital functional. We want to see positive changes in the hospital with enough nurses working here’, he concluded.
Also speaking, Mr.Ezeibe Chigozie said: “I want Governor Willie Obiano to come into these matters because the people of Agba village are suffering. Let him come and see things himself with his own eyes so that he will understand what we are passing through. We have hospital like this, yet people are dying anyhow.
There is no road. Even the Doctors and nurses are not close enough to the hospital. Some of them live at Nnewi and Awka, they pack their vehicles at Ekwulobia roundabout and trek to the Hospital.
“It has affected the town badly. Somebody like me during the burial of my father, there was no road to come in, no single road. That is why we are crying, calling on the Governor to come and witness it. He has the commissioners representing him but they are representing their pockets and not the masses. They started building the roads but stopped at Isuofia because the commissioner is from Isuofia and Ekwulobia Agba village in particular was abandoned.”
He however called on government to employ more workers to the general hospital to man the different duties as expected in a general hospital and improve the entire state of the hospital to the standard expected of it.
Speaking to our reporter, another resident and indigene of Agba who gave her name as Mrs. Stella Ezenwankwo said that the road has subjected people of the town to undue suffering and torture. She said even Okada people find it difficult to use the road because it is filled with deep potholes.
Her words: ‘Our road is very bad and has been causing us pain. We trek from our various homes to wherever we want to go because okada people have stopped coming to carry us. Except we make it to the Ekwulobia round about, we cannot use any other means of transport except foot.
“I find it extremely difficult to convey my goods to the market because I would have to climb up and down the edge of the road to my street. The edge is too high that if I jump from it I would end up breaking my leg. During rainy season, the road is a no go area except we pull off our foot wares and drag our foot in the mud filled road.”
Another Lagos- based indigene who gave his name as Mr. Richard Olisa decried the gory state of the roads in Ekwulobia and Agba community in particular calling on the Anambra state government to intervene and do the needful if they are sure to still consider the people of Agba part of the state. “Agba do not have road. For over 3 months culvert was built to let people with vehicles enter their streets but the culvert has not been passable because of the height from the road. The deepness of the road is about 3 metre high from culverts and people’s houses while the road itself has been abandoned for reasons unknown.”
“It has been more than 3 years that different contractors have worked on the road but instead of bringing the road to shape they are worsening the situation of the road. None of the contractors have done any tangible work on that road to the extent we do not even know who is in charge again because it has been long abandoned.
“At night the road is always a nightmare because there is no light to evade the dangerous spots and as a result has inflicted degrees of injuries to different persons of Agba town including our visitors. So many people do not even agree to visit us again because their is no means of entering our houses.”
On the part of Nonso Ezeokonwo who is also a resident of Agba in Ekwulobia blamed the incessant death in the village to the bad roads. According to him, “Agba road in Ekwulobia has caused terrible pain to its residents. Some people that have cars in the community cannot drive in with their vehicles because there is no access to their homes.”
“Agba has a general hospital but the only section that is working is the mortuary and it is now filled to the brim because people die on the way to hospitals. Tell me how indigenes can convey their sick wards to the hospital when there is no vehicle to do so. Even when there is vehicle, the roads are bad. Before one could get to hospital the person is dead. Our people suffer and die when we have government that should take care of us.”