The medical students of Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH)were tear gassed this morning as they embarked on a peaceful demonstration to protest the nonchalance attitude of the Governor Okorocha Administration on the institution.
The students had gathered at the Douglas Road/Assumpta Road Roundabout in a bid to storm the Imo State Government House.
The intention of the students was to engage the governor in a peaceful interaction in order to narrate their ordeals and travails to him.
It was supposed to be a peaceful strike but the police swiftly swooped on them and unleashed tear gas canisters on the area and this caused mayhem and pandemonium in the city centre.
Before the police caused panic by throwing the tear gas on the general public, I had engaged some of the students in a chat to ascertain their grouse.
This interview ended abruptly as everybody scampered and fled the scene as a result of the peppery and harrowing impact of the teas gas on the populace.
Before we fled the scene, the students were narrating their grouse to me. Hear them: ”This is a peaceful demonstration by the students of Imo State University Teaching Hospital(IMSUTH), Orlu and Owerri campuses of the university. Our problems are numerous. Perhaps, I may start by telling you that our pathological laboratory is not functional. Our consultants have been on strike for a long time and it appears that the larger society does not even know about the travails of this institution. As we speak, there has not been any medical practice/training in this institution for some months now. Activities have come to a standstill here as students who are supposed to be studying for their various examinations are just idle while patients cannot be properly given medical attention because the resident doctors who actually do most of the jobs have since proceeded on strike.”
“ Our professional examinations are being postponed indefinitely. There is no motorable road to the institution and in cases of emergency, access to the IMSUTH complex becomes very difficult>”
“We even lost accreditation and the Medical Council is scheduled to visit in November. The government is not doing anything to give us any hope that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. The government is not helping the students at all; our morale is too low and this can affect our academic performance.”
“We are on this peaceful demonstration to create awareness to the populace that the IMSUTH is dormant and this does not augur well for the students and even the larger public. Our lectures have been on strike for over two months and nothing is happening in IMSUTH since then.”
“The government is owing them a lot of money and efforts to resolve their dispute could not yield any fruitful result. So, they packed up and went on indefinite strike.”
“We have come here to discuss our problems with the state governor in a peaceful atmosphere. Unfortunately, they government unleashed the police to tear gas us. We do not know our offence.”
When I called the GSM number of the President of the Resident Doctors, he confirmed that the resident doctors of IMSUTH have been on strike for quite some time now. However, he said that “ the only sign of activity there is traceable to the fact that consultants don’t go on strike. It’s like a mutiny for them to go on strike.They are like military generals who cannot abandon their duty.”
He then promised to grant a special interview to throw more light on the problems facing the IMSUTH community in order to enable the populace to be kept abreast with what is happening in their Teaching Hospital.
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