Naira Scarcity: Anxiety In UNIBEN After Students, Soldiers’ Clash
Following the clash between soldiers and students on the campus of the University of Benin, UNIBEN, on Thursday, Vice Chancellor of the institution, Lilian Salami, on Friday called for calm.
Trouble was said to have started as attempts by some military personnel to jump the queue and make cash withdrawal at at one of the bank’s Automated Teller Machine on campus was resisted by the students who had waited patiently on the queue for hours.
In a statement by the VC on Friday, she described the incident as unfortunate and urged the students to always seek alternative resolution to crisis instead of protesting.
The statement reads, “The unfortunate incident of the clash between some students of our university and soldiers on Thursday 2nd February, resulting from alleged resistance of students to the soldiers’ attempt to jump ATM queue on campus has been brought under control and the management of the university is in discussions with the hierarchy of the S&T for amicable resolution.
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“The management acknowledges that these are challenging times for everyone and enjoins all to remain calm while efforts are being made to avert a re-occurrence.
“Management also calls on the students to constantly engage dialogue in resolving issues that concern them rather than taking to protests, at any provocation, thereby causing more injury and damage to themselves and other citizens,” the statement added.
A visit to the school premises on Friday shows there were fears among students and residents of the area of a reprisal attack.
Four vehicles that had their windshield smashed were packed close to the school’s main gate.
The exit gate was shut as motorists used the entry gate and were subjected to vigorous search before they were allowed in, while some students and resident gathered at the main gate afraid of what would happen next.
A group of police officers also sat close to the mountain to forestall further breakdown of law and order within the university environment.
A student told newsmen that they were afraid that the soldiers could still come and attack the school in the dead of the night.
She said, “Two of the five soldiers who caused the trouble were taken the security house at the main gate to prevent them being lynched. The were released to their superior later on Thursday evening.
“But they regrouped and came back in the early hours of Tuesday at about 12.30 and they jumped the fence, destroyed some vehicles and started shooting sporadically into the air.”
Another student, who gave his name as David stated that trouble stated when five soldiers came on Thursday to withdraw money at the Wema Bank ATM without joining the queue and showing no courtesy to those who had been on the queue for hours.
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He continued, “A female student was said to be recording what the soldiers were doing and her phone was taken from her and smashed on the floor. A cab driver who tried to intervene was also molested which drew the ire of the students.
“If they had agreed to allow the female student go, the crisis would have been avoided. But we are afraid they might come back to attack us just like the did in the early hours of Friday.
“As soon as the issue escalated, we blocked the road which caused gridlock. But the Divisional Police Officer of Ugbowo came with his men and the blockade was removed.”
Imo Labour Party Governorship Aspirant Found Dead
A Labour Party aspirant in the upcoming Governorship primaries in Imo State, Chief Humphrey Anumudu has been found dead in his house.
The aspirant died in his house in Lagos after he had returned from an LP meeting at the party national headquarters in Abuja on Friday.
A native of Mbieri Ancient Kingdom in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo state, Anumudu was reportedly found dead in his house in what family sources described as a “spiritual attack.”
As a multi-billionaire businessman cum politician, he has been contesting for the governorship seat of the state since 1998.
He was said to be the true winner of the Peoples Democratic Party governorship primary in the state in 1998 before the ticket was ceded to Achike Udenwa who went on to rule the state between 1999 and 2007.
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Since then he had been contesting for the number one seat of the state. In 2019 he was the Zenith Labour party governorship candidate.
A close friend of the deceased said that he died around 5:30 pm on Friday.
The late politician had already paid the sum of 25 million Naira for Labour Party’s Governorship form for the November 11th 2023 Guber contest.
Chief Anumudu, a respected legal luminary and an astute politician was also the Chief Executive Officer of Globe Motors.
He contested for the Governorship election in the past under the All Progressives Grand Alliance.
How Driver, House Help Killed Couple With Shoes, Wood, Pliers
More details have emerged concerning the death of aged Lagos couple, Engr. Femi Egbeoluwa and his wife, Funmi, murdered by their domestic staff members.
The driver of the couple murdered in their apartment at 1, Adefolu Drive, Allen Avenue Ikeja, Lagos, last week, has turned himself in, to the Police.
The driver was alleged to have connived with one of the house helps to murder the couple, who were preparing to travel abroad for Femi’s routine medical check up, on March 19.
Thereafter, he reportedly went into hiding.
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But the Police said it was too early to describe him as a suspect in the murder saga, until investigation was concluded.
Preliminary investigation by the Police, however, revealed that £5,000 meant for late Femi’s medical expenses was stolen.
A relative of the Egbeoluwa, who spoke on the condition of annonimity, disclosed that the driver turned himself in on Wednesday evening.
The relative said, “he (driver) first went to my uncle’s office, he did not see anyone. He left and came back to the office in the evening and still met the place locked. From there he walked to the Police station.
“My uncle and his wife whom I fondly called Baba and mama had none of their children with them because they are all grown and live in their respective houses.
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“Their son who was supposed to take them to the airport last week Sunday, came to the house only to meet it in disarray.
“Perhaps, it would have taken a longer time to know what actually happened had he not shown up that day.
“From the information we gathered, mama was the first person they attacked. They used apola (wedge shoes), wood, fists and pliers on her. The bits were were seen on the floor.
“They went upstairs to baba who wasn’t too strong because of his health challenge. They also attacked one of the househelps who was found unconscious in the floor. They left thinking she was dead.
“The first time the house help came out of coma, she murmured ‘’driver, driver’ before she relapsed.
“The building has been sealed by the Police. They said it is part of the forensic investigation.
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“Baba was a former Permanent Secretary in the Ogun State Government. He and his wife lived a quiet life. All we demand is a thorough investigation into the murder that will fish out their assailants.”
When contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hudenyin, confirmed that the driver was at the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department, Yaba.
He said, “he reported himself to the State CID on Thursday. But we can not describe him as the suspect yet, as investigation is still ongoing.
“The injured maid is still in the hospital receiving treatment.”
How LUTH Bed Space Shortage Aborted Female Student’s Dreams
Twenty-year-old Deborah Doofan had many dreams. She planned to graduate from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with honours in 2026, become a first-class banker in one of Nigeria’s prestigious banks at 25, get married two years after, and have a beautiful home with three lovely kids and a doting husband.
According to her elder brother, Prince, she vowed to help their family out of penury. But her dreams never materialised as her life was cut short by poor medical facilities.
Deborah was in an emergency and was rushed to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba, Surulere, Lagos, in the wee hours of Thursday, March 16, 2023, but the federal hospital could not provide her a bed space. She was left out in the cold; in the backseat of a car right in front of the hospital’s emergency centre, where she died.
Prince, who had yet to recover from the shock of the incident, said all his efforts to save his sister had been a waste of time and resources.
While fighting back tears, he said the family was still mourning their mother, who passed away last year and struggling to support their hypertensive father, when Deborah died.
He told Saturday PUNCH that when his father was informed about her death on the telephone, the handset slipped off his hand and the line went dead.
“I had to send somebody to check on him as I was told he almost collapsed. This is just too much for our family to bear,” he added.
On the circumstances surrounding Deborah’s demise, Prince said, “We got to LUTH around 2am and called the emergency number. The security officials at the emergency ward started asking what the emergency was about.
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“A doctor later came out and I showed him our referral letter. He brought out his thermometer, checked her pulse and temperature, and returned inside.
“After a few minutes, he returned and told us that their beds were occupied and there was no bed space to treat her. I pleaded with him to give her first aid or something to stabilise her pending the time that there would be bed space for proper treatment to commence.
“But he said their policy does not allow them to give treatment outside the hospital. I then begged him that he should allow me to take her inside the emergency ward and that I would sit on the floor and carry her on my lap so he can give her first aid treatment, but he still said no. She died at the front of the emergency ward while I was looking for a bench or table to place her on.”
Deborah was a 100-level student in the Banking and Finance Department, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The 20-year-old was said to be studying in school when she collapsed and was rushed to the UNIPORT Teaching Hospital.
Prince said his sister was receiving treatment in the hospital when she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, a medical condition associated with overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in a rapid heartbeat and metabolism. That was in January 2022.
According to him, she was to undergo treatment when medical workers discovered that she had a swollen heart and thereafter referred her to LUTH to see specialists.
He said, “So, she left Port Harcourt and came to Lagos on December 24, 2022. We called LUTH to know if their specialists were on the ground but we were told that the machine that would be used for the hyperthyroidism treatment was not working.”
LUTH was said to have referred her to the University College Hospital, Ibadan.
At UCH, Ibadan, a doctor reportedly recommended lots of treatment to bring her swollen heart down.
“The doctor said UCH had the machine for the treatment but specialists were not on ground and she needed to see a cardiologist to certify that her heart was in a good position for them to put her on a machine for the treatment,” he added.
The Benue State indigene said the patient was referred back to LUTH to see specialists.
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“To see a specialist is very expensive and because my funds were trapped in banks (due to naira scarcity), it became difficult for her to continue seeing specialists and continuing the treatment. So, she was just taking oral drugs, but the tablets were not effective, so her condition started getting worse.
“Before that, the swollen stomach and legs were going down, and she was getting better. She woke up one day and became restless; we tried to sort out funds to see a cardiologist in LUTH, but when we got there, we were told to go to UCH to get her admitted for doctors and specialists to treat her and monitor her condition,” Prince said.
Prince said his sister was making plans to resume the treatment when she suffered a crisis and was rushed to the Epe General Hospital, from where she was referred to LUTH.
However, upon getting to LUTH at 2am, she could not get bed space.
She was preparing for resumption
Deborah’s course representative at UNIPORT, Favour Nkwocha, described her as a vibrant and loving student.
Nkwocha, who spoke to our correspondent on the phone, also said fellow students had yet to recover from the shock of her death.
He said, “We gained admission in 2020 into UNIPORT, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, we started lectures in 2021. After our first-semester examination in late August 2021, we went on a six-month holiday because the school calendar was not balanced. Before we could resume, ASUU started an eight-month strike. So, we stayed at home for 14 months.
“When we resumed last year November, Deborah was healthy. She was not a noisy person, but very outspoken. We even had a group presentation and she spoke very well.
“In December when the school went on Christmas break, she gave me money to buy textbooks for her and I did because our second semester examination meant to start this January. But she called me and said she would not be coming to class early and that I should help her with attendance and talk to some lecturers too. I asked her what the problem was, and she told me that she was sick and would be going for surgery in Lagos. I even asked her if she would make it back to school before the exam started and she said yes.
“But the exam started and she was not back; her brother then called me to know if the school would allow her to sit the exam later and I told him yes, but with good reasons, and if he would write to the appropriate bodies. He sent a letter and other documents, which I submitted.”
Nkwocha disclosed that the school Christian fellowship organised a prayer session for Debby and wished her a quick recovery.
“During the exam, I spoke to her brother once and he told me that she was getting better; we even discussed her resumption.
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“I haven’t spoken again with the brother until Sunday when I opened my WhatsApp and saw the message ‘Debby died on Thursday.’ I couldn’t respond to the chat. I didn’t know what to say. I was shocked. I am still feeling the pain.
“This is a start of a new session and we ought to have resumed the 200 level with her but we lost her,” he added.
According to medical experts, worldwide, thyroid disorders remain the second-most common endocrine disease, after diabetes.
The Chairman, Medical Art Centre and President, Academy of Medicine, Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, said thyroidism could be caused by Graves’ disease.
He said, “Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in front of your neck. It makes hormones that control the way the body uses energy. These hormones affect nearly every organ in your body and control many of your body’s most important functions.
“For example, they affect your breathing, heart rate, weight, digestion, and mood. If not treated, hyperthyroidism can cause serious problems with your heart, bones, muscles, menstrual cycle, and fertility. But some treatments can help.”
According to Ashiru, hyperthyroidism will not kill once a patient seeks medical attention on time, adding that patients can live up to 90 years of age.
No bed space
The healthcare sector has always been plagued with the problem of poor infrastructure.
Nigerians regularly lose their lives after being denied adequate medical attention due to lack of bed space and sometimes non-availability of medical personnel.
A Lagos resident, Opeyemi Babalola, recently lost his loved one after the patient was reportedly turned back from both General Hospital, Ifako, and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, due to lack of bed space.
In pain, he stated, “May Nigeria not befall you and yours.”
The Deputy Provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Dr Dele Omojuyigbe, narrated to the Sunday Telegraph how he navigated five Lagos hospitals in seven hours to save his dying wife from the no-bed-space syndrome.
“We had traversed five Lagos hospitals in seven anxious hours. Sadly, we got the same cold, lethal refrain, ‘There is no space,’” he stated. The woman later died
The Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee, LUTH, Prof. Wasiu Adeyemo, said the Federal Government was building a new facility in LUTH, which would give the hospital more space.
“But population is increasing; the problem is not limited to us,” he added.
Speaking on Deborah’s death, he said, “We won’t say because it is an emergency, we will then chase admitted patients away. As a policy, we have a very effective way of communicating with our patients; it is quite unfortunate that this patient died.
“In a few months, all these will be solved. We have many of our wards under renovation, and there is another building being constructed in the hospital. By the time we are done, we would have more space and avert possible dangers of this sort.”
He, however, noted that emergencies deserved attention irrespective of space or payment.
“When we see a patient like that, what we do is to investigate; patients sometimes come and there are no bed spaces and what we do is to refer them. But for a really serious, critical emergency, we inform them immediately that there is no space and give them options of where to go or take them to other wards. With or without money, it is the responsibility of the hospital to treat emergency patients in line with the policy of the Federal Government,” he added.
According to a biochemist at Green Springs Wellness and Maternity, Dr Nnaemeka Iwunze, the challenge of insufficient bed space in hospitals can be resolved if the government equip primary health care centres to detect and treat cases that usually develop into emergencies.
He said, “If the primary health care centres are properly developed and equipped, these emergencies that get to the general hospitals will not get to that level.
“These primary health care centres should have qualified and well-trained doctors to handle issues so they won’t get to emergency stages.
“Also, the government should develop the natural health sector. It’s been over 20 years since the World Health Organisation declared that this sector should be developed to help the health centres, so we will have a robust health sector and prevent these emergencies because the natural health sector has the potential to treat these chronic emergencies.
“The government should also construct more emergency wards in the various state and federal hospitals.”
Iwunze advised that doctors should be allowed to treat emergency patients outside wards and in temporary tents.
“Our policies should also be changed to accommodate the immediate action of a doctor to attend to an emergency irrespective of where the patient is, as far as the patient has been brought into the emergency centre.
“Setting up a temporary shelter can save a life in emergency situations within minutes when the wards are full. This is what we see outside the country; patients can be treated from anywhere,” he added.
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