As report of the Coronavirus increased, the contractor that built the isolation centre for COVID-19 and other vulnerable diseases at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, (UCTH) has threatened to shut it down over non-payment of N68 million debts.
Speaking with newsmen in Calabar, the Managing Director of Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd, James Obi said that his company decided to hand over the centre because of goodwill and in consideration of the health and wellbeing of Nigerians.
Obi said he was shocked that after three months, nothing had been said or done even suppliers were now threatening to kidnap him over his Company’s inability to pay for item they bought from them since 2016. “We have written several letters to the hospital management over the non payment of the balance of our payment in the tune of N68million.
“We completed the project and many others as far back as 2017, but they refused to pay us, out of goodwill and the interest of the people, we decided to hand over the centre with the view of getting paid as promised but till date we have not heard anything.
“We followed all due processes in executing the contractual agreement and happy that the centre has become very useful in the outbreak of COVID-19.
We have written severally to the management, all to no avail, we would apply all legal means to close down the centre for the failure of the hospital management to meet their own contractual agreement,” he stated.
It was gathered that the Centre for Emerging Pathogens Research and Management (UCTH-CEPREM) was started in 2016 in the hospital under the former Chief Medical Director, Prof Thomas Agan and completed in 2017 but the keys were handed over to the management of UCTH in 2020 following the spate of Lassa fever and reports of COVID-19.
It was further gathered that on November 15, 2016, the management of UCTH awarded the construction of an infectious disease centre (isolation centre) through an award letter UCTH/CMD/PROG/02M/45 at the cost of N68.7m to Obi Achara Ltd.
By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), says it is yet to establish any link between oil leaks and death fishes that float and litter the Atlantic coastline across the Niger Delta region.
The agency said it was coordinating a multi-agency investigation, aimed at unraveling the cause of the reported massive death of fishes within the nation’s territorial waters and was looking beyond the oil industry.
Director-General of NOSDRA, Mr Idris Musa, told newsmen in a telephone chat on Wednesday in Yenagoa, that investigation was already ongoing in spite the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to Musa, officials of NOSDRA deployed from Warri, Yenagoa and Port Harcourt have conducted site visits to the Atlantic coastline in Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers to collect water and fish samples for tests.
”NOSDRA carried out a reconnaissance of the area in Delta where we first got the report through a member of a non- governmental organisation.
“There is no incident of oil spill within the area of reported dead fishes, notwithstanding that a few dead fishes were seen along the shoreline.
“The event of recent days where the death of fishes in large numbers make it expedient to look beyond oil spillage as the likely cause of death of fishes in such large numbers,” he said.
Musa said that the agency collected samples of water, sediments and some of the dead fishes for laboratory testing, and in doing so, brought on board other relevant government agencies that have mandate on the territorial waters, in particularly the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR) and the Federal Institute of Fisheries Research.
“Also, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) for all hands on deck assessment of the possible cause or causes of death of the fishes in such large numbers,” Musa said.
The NOSDRA chief executive said that the results of ongoing laboratory analysis would be compared with results from the participating agencies to profer an effective solution and ensures a more stringent regulation in future.
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