THE Medical Director of the Federal Medical Centre, Gusau (FMCG), Zamfara State, Bello Muhammed, has expressed worry over the spate of insecurity in the state, which he said has increased the number of patients at the facility and overwhelmed its capacity.
Speaking exclusively with The ICIR reporter at the hospital on Wednesday, Mohammed said FMCG had been overstretched with victims of banditry, as well as with victims of vehicle accidents and hundreds of other patients who seek care at the hospital.
The medical doctor said, “The issue of insecurity is currently quite challenging in this part of this country. In my assessment, Zamfara State is the epitome of insecurity. The insecurity has impacted negatively on the performance of this hospital. It is very sad to mention that in early 2020, one of our consultants was gruesomely murdered in his house. That has negatively impacted the hospital because some specialists have fled.
“Some of these specialists are leaving this part of the country for the southern part. At the same time, some leave for outside the country. So, our brain drain is the worst in the country because it is in two ways.
“The victims of banditry and insurgency are also brought to the hospital. When you count the victims of road crashes, in addition to those of insurgency, the truth is that we are being overwhelmed.”
Muhammed revealed that about three to four specialists had left the FMC this year, quickly noting that the number did not include junior doctors, nurses, and other categories of workers in different areas that had left the facility.
According to him, the FMC had 45 consultants, out of which seven had left.
“Despite all these challenges, we still deliver. The management engaged private security guards and conventional security forces, including the Police and Directorate of State Services (DSS), to guard the hospital. We cannot fold our arms; we can’t just allow people to be going like that,” he said.
The ICIR reports that despite fears in some parts of the country over the wave of insecurity in the Northwest, especially in Zamfara, the state capital has been peaceful, and the FMCG safe.
Hundreds of people seek care at the hospital daily.
On October 16, this newspaper reported how the state government shut down some media stations for flouting a directive on the suspension of political campaigns in the state as part of measures to contain insecurity, whereas the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had allowed campaigns for the 2023 elections to commence on September 28.
On October 13, The ICIR reported how 30 schools were still under lock in the state one year after the government shut them because of the problem.
Though the nation’s security forces have neutralised many terrorists troubling the Northwest in recent weeks, Zamfara and its neighbours – Niger, Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto – still grapple with killings, cattle rustling, and other violent activities by terrorists and marauders.
Activities of the gunmen had forced the state and its neighbours to shut down telecom operations believed to be aiding criminals’ operations, among other measures, in 2021. But the efforts failed to stop the terrorists.
Apart from the Northwest, other regions in Nigeria contend with insecurity. While the Northeast has witnessed over a decade of bombardments and other atrocities by the Boko Haram and Islamic West Africa Province (ISWAP), the Southeast struggles with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and “unknown gunmen”, who continue to terrorize the region.
In the Southsouth, oil thieves are having a field day while the Federal government tries to curb lingering farmer-herders conflicts that have left hundreds dead and thousands displaced in the Northcentral.
Ritual killings have been a great concern in the Southwest, which is also experiencing pockets of abductions and other organized crimes.
The ICIR reports that insecurity almost consumed Nigeria in the first half of this year, prompting the National Assembly to threaten to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.
On October 19, this newspaper reported the Nigerian government saying that Boko Haram alone had killed 100,000 people and displaced two million others, with N3.24 trillion lost by the nation to the crisis.