The proposal for the establishment of Federal Medical Centre, Bonny, in Rivers State, on Thursday, received the blessing of critical stakeholders in the health sector and community leaders from the South South.
Stakeholders, who were present at a one day public hearing on a “bill for the Establishment of a Federal Medical Centre, Bonny, Rivers State”, organised by the Reps Committee on Health submitted that FMC is a tertiary health institution that is most needed in the South South to complement other health services.
Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Farah Dagogo representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency in his opening address lamented the inadequacy of medical services despite Bonny playing host to multi-national oil companies, with several casualties occassioned by oil drilling on a daily basis.
He said the citing of the multi-billion dollar Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas in Bonny was responsible for population density which has put much pressure on some private medical facilities, stating that if the proposed FMC scale through, it would augment health services better than it were.
The lawmaker further expressed concerns that increase in industrial activities, especially the construction of the Train 7 and the attendant influx of foreigners has further increased the rate of those in need of medical services.
“There is no medical centre in the Bonny which can withstand an outbreak of serious epidemic or hazards caused by industrial or social related activities. The absence of a good Health Care facility is a concern to the residents, and this has led to vociferous calls and clamour for the provision of an improved health care system.
“This Bill, which seeks to establish a Federal Medical Centre in Bonny, Rivers State would assuage the health needs of the people, given its peculiar location, and the related industrial activities ongoing in the Island,” he added.
He referenced the height of the COVID-19 and the helplessness Bonny people were made to grapple with and appealed to the participants to correct the wrong of the past by supporting the passage of the bill.
“Bonny Island experienced greatly the negative impacts of COVID 19, occasioned by the influx of foreigners.
“The surge in cases of COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the case of death of strange fishes found around Bonny – Andoni waterway, led to many deaths in the Island, that even attracted the attention of the both Chambers of the National Assembly.
“These two issues stretched the primary health care centres in the area and human security was, therefore, at risk,” he said.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora in his presentation applauded the lawmakers for yearning to the needs of their constituents, but decried paucity of funds.
Community and Socio-Cultural group leaders from Bonny, however, disagreed with the Minister and insisted that the Federal government should do all it could to bring the establishment of FMC in Bonny to fruition.
Leader of the delegation, Chief Charles Jumbo said by virtue of what Bonny gives to the country in terms of revenue and the absence of any Federal Medical Centre in Rivers State, “Bonny deserves a Medical Centre.”
Other delegates from Rivers present at the public hearing included two former Federal Lawmakers, Hon. Randolph Brown and Hon. Tonye Tamuno LongJohn.