Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Abandonment of Utako District Hospital, Abuja Sparks Concerns

Residents of Utako community, a major district in Abuja are extremely worried about the deplorable state of Utako District Hospital complex which has remained uncompleted for more than 10 years.

The hospital complex, initially intended to become the only hospital in Utako and awarded at the cost of over N4.3 billion to M/S PPC Medical Systems, has now turned into a refuse dump.

Like a typical Abuja slum, the densely populated Utako village is without proper sewage disposal system, thereby causing some members of the community to channel their drainages into the abandoned complex.

The residents have also built over 20 public bathrooms near the fence channelling the waste into the hospital complex. The dirty water, which terminates at the heaps of refuse in the buildings, is an eyesore.

The compound is water logged and, probably in a bid to channel the wastes out of the complex, a small portion of the fence by Obafemi Awolowo Road has been broken, causing the waste to flow into the street and across the road into a manhole.

Muyiwa Azeez, a taxi driver, said after a heavy downpour, the road was usually flooded with waste which forced motorists to use only a single lane.

"If any vehicle splashes the water on you, you would want to return home to shower and change your clothes because of the foul smell," he said, adding that he plied the road with even greater caution during the rainy season.

Kingsley Ike works in a pharmacy near the complex and said he had lost many customers due to the stench from the building. He said the stench was so strong that even after closing the doors and windows of his pharmacy, the odour still found its way into the building.

A woman who identified herself as Theresa and sells snacks near a shopping plaza in the area said:
"The smell makes me feel headache, even my customers who will want to sit here to eat cannot stay because of the odour."

While the FCT Water Board and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) have been trading blames on whose responsibility it is to curtail the environmental menace in the area, government has been silent about the project and its consequence on the residents as efforts to get the reaction of the FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat have been unsuccessful.

Aso Chronicle found out that about N2.222 billion of the N4.263 cost of the project had been paid while there are reports that work was suspended due to the outcome of a ministerial committee's evaluation.

Written by: Taiwo Adeniyi, Olayemi John-Mensah, Rejoice Iliya & Ajayi Adewale Johnson

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