A non governmental organization, the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN) has issued the Enugu State government one-month notice to fix and make functional the multi-billion naira Enugu Diagnostics Centre that have been taken over by weeds or face court action.
The rights group gave the notice in a statement issued on Thursday, by its president, Olu Omotayo, titled: “Multi-billion Naira Enugu Diagnostics Centre Lying Waste; refusal of the state government to equip the center reckless but deliberate.”
Describing the complex housing the Diagnostics Centre with overgrown weeds in the center of the city as an eyesore, CRRAN regretted that the center would have solved various health needs of the citizens of the state in particular and South-East in general if it had been equipped.
“If the Diagnostics centre is not made functional for the purpose for which it was built, before the end of October 2022, we shall commence another round of legal action against the government,” the group warned.
It recalled that it was court action that forced the former governor, Sullivan Chime’s regime to complete construction work of the diagnostic centre in 2015, and wondered why a responsible government should wait for court action before a project it had sunk billions of taxpayers’ money would be executed and put to use.
“It is on record that it was through court action against the regime of former Governor Sullivan Chime, in the Suit: Civil Liberties Organisation V. Commissioner for Health Enugu State, Suit No. FHC//EN/M/263/2011, where the first decision on Freedom of Information Act (FOI), in Southeast Nigeria, was delivered in 2013, that forced the government to complete the construction of the Diagnostics Center, which it had earlier abandoned at the foundation level.
“Armed with the information that the predecessor of the present state governor had awarded the contract for the supplying of the equipment for the Diagnostics center and in fact some of the equipment actually arrived the state but kept in an unknown location, the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), filed a suit against the government over its’ refusal to equip the Diagnostics Center, located at Old Trade Fair Complex, Enugu.
“The suit between the Registered Trustees of Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN) and Enugu State Government, marked No: FHC/EN/ CS/47/2020, was filed at the Federal High Court Enugu.”
Omotayo disclosed that the organisation in support of the suit informed the court that the contract for purchase of medical equipment for the commencement of operations of Diagnostics Center was awarded and public funds made available for that purpose but the funds were diverted for personal use.
This was the major reason for non-completion and the subsequent abandon of the project till date, he said.
He regretted that the state government under current administration hid under guise that it was using the center as an isolation center at the onset of the outbreak of Covid-19, pandemic to stop equipping the Centre to take care of medical needs of the people of the state.
“The pandemic is no more; no human activity in the complex and it has been overgrown with weeds,” he stated.
The organisation’s president warned that “this letter also serves as pre-action notice to the state government that if the center is not made functional for the purpose for which it was built, before the end of October 2022, we shall commence another round of legal action against the government because; we firmly belief that the project if completed will solve various health needs of the citizens of Enugu State in particular and Southeast Nigeria as a whole.
“The government has clearly shown since our correspondences with it in 2020, that it is not ready to equip the Diagnostics Center with necessary medical equipment so that the center can commence operations to start serving the citizens.
“We submit that the hallmark of democracy is that government must be accountable to the citizens and also know that it is its duty to provide necessary medical facilities needed for the wellbeing of the citizenry.”
Report culled from saharareporters