Police Teargas IMSUTH Students on Peaceful Demonstration  – By John Mgbe 

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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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