100-year-old mission hospital Shut down in Ebonyi State

NEWSMAN, Abakaliki – Ebonyi State has shut down and taken over 100-year-old Presbyterian Joint Hospital in Uburu at Ohaozara Local Government established in 1912.

The action followed a petition by the community on the expiration of the hospital’s 100-year lease. It was established in 1912.

Residents had alleged misappropriation of funds, high medical charges, use of obsolete equipment for treatment and lack of qualified doctors. It urged the government to take over the management.

Commissioner for Health Daniel Umezurike, on Tuesday, said the government revoked the hospital’s right of occupancy in the people’s interest.

He said, “Uburu people donated the land to the Church of Scotland Mission in 1912, not to the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. When the Church of Scotland was leaving, the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria took over probably because most of the workers were members of the church, especially then Governor of Old Eastern Region, the late Dr. Akanu Ibiam. But ownership was never transferred to them.

“The hospital was offering qualitative services until the ‘90s when the Church of Scotland stopped sending expatriates from Netherlands, then the clinical services and management became completely indigenous … The nation repoted.

The commissioner noted that the lease expired in 2011, having lasted 100 years. He added the community waited till it expired before the agitation to quit started.

Dr. Umezuruike said the church or any other body linked with the ownership failed to apply for a renewal.

According to him, the State Executive Council, on July 14, and following the Land Use Act (Cap L.5 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004), revoked the right of occupancy.

He added that the House of Assembly affirmed the revocation, and ownership reverted to the state.

The hospital would be designated Ebonyi State University Community General Hospital, and serve as community medicine rural practice area of the University Teaching Hospital in Uburu.

Umezuruike said the hospital would remain shut for two weeks, and the state would, among other things, take inventory, staff auditing and verification and renovation.

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