- Fayose declares three-day mourning FG calls deaths a tragic loss to the nation
Paul Obi in Abuja and Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
Major health institutions in Ekiti State, including the Federal Teaching Hospital, Ido Ekiti(FETHI), the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital (EKSUTH) and other general hospitals were paralysed yesterday by the death of six doctors in a fatal motor accident along Kaduna road last Sunday.
Those who lost their lives were Dr Tunde Aladesanmi of the FETHI; Dr Ojo Taiwo EKSUTH; NMA Secretary, Dr Akinyele Alex; Dr J. Ogunseye of the Health Management Board; President, EKSUTH Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Dr Olajide; Dr Adeniyi James of the FETHI and a driver identified as Ajibola.
The sad event according to eyewitness, forced the doctors, nurses and other staff of FETHI to troop out as early as 7a.m. and locked the main gate of the hospital in protest, which inconvenienced the patients and visitors.
The placard-carrying protesters expressed grief over the death of three doctors in FETHI out of those who lost their lives, saying they suspected that their death was man-made.
Right from the main gates of the two institutions, one could feel the gloom that enveloped the hospitals over the death of the medical practitioners who were consultants in their respective specialties.
The late doctors, led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) Ekiti State chapter, Dr. John Akinbote, who survived in the accident, died while on their way to Sokoto State to attend the NMA’s annual general meeting.
When journalists visited EKSUTH in Ado Ekiti, the staff were seen in clusters discussing the situation, while few of the deceased’s colleagues were at hand to render medical services to patients on admission.
Speaking on the incident, FETHI’s Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr. Lawrence Ayodele, described the death as a national disaster, saying: “It is not about the state, but the whole country because it involves six senior doctors and a driver.
“On behalf of the entire hospital community, we pray that such sad event would not happen again. We need a period of prayer to put an end to this kind of ugly incident.”
On the staff unrest that dogged the death of the doctors, Ayodele said: “I got the information this morning(yesterday), but let me say that it is normal that when there is grief, people can bring up any kind of behaviour. But we should not allow emotion to override our thinking, and grief should not push us to do what we are not supposed to do. I plead with them to be peaceful.”
The CMD said the families of the deceased have been contacted by both the state government and the NMA over the incident.
Ayodele’s counterpart in EKSUTH, Dr Kolawole Ogundipe, said the management had sent five ambulances to Kaduna to evacuate the corpses of the deceased.
Ogundipe, who appealed to members to be peaceful, prayed that God will grant the NMA, the deceased’s families and Ekiti government the fortitude to bear the loss.
Meanwhile, the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the deaths of the doctors and one driver in the state in an accident involving a 13-passenger bus as a monumental loss not only to the people of the state but to Nigerians, declaring three days of mourning yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The governor, who directed that all flags should be flown at half-mast, described the death as an eclipse of professional and intellectual figures, who lost their lives in active service to mankind, saying; “Ekiti State has lost some of the best trees in its forest of medicine. I am deeply sad. This is one loss too many.”
In a statement issued his Special Assistant on Public Communications , Lere Olayinka, Fayose said: “Death of seven prominent indigenes of a state in one day and at the same period is a burden too heavy to bear and it is my prayer that God, who is the only giver and taker of life will give Ekiti people the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
“On behalf of my family, government and people of Ekiti State, I express our heartfelt condolence for the loss of these promising sons of Ekiti and wish their families, friends and professional colleagues the continued support and guidance of the Almighty God.