The Onu of Itobe, HRH Alhaji Salihu Adaji, has appealed to the Kogi State Government to build a general hospital that will attend to the health needs of the ancient community.
Adaji made the appeal in Itobe, Ofu Local Government Area, on Friday at a constituency town hall meeting organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room in partnership with the Initiative for Grassroots Advancement in Nigeria, INGRA.
The monarch, who decried the absence of good health facilities and potable drinking water in Itobe, lamented that, since Kogi State was created in 1991, his community has not benefited from the budgetary allocation for health.
He recalled that Itobe district was created in 1926 under the colonial administration, adding that it remains a mystery that the community, which happens to be a connecting point to other parts of the country with its available natural re.s, has been abandoned to suffer for ages.
According to him, several appeals have been made for the upgrading of the health facilities in Itobe to a general hospital and the provision of potable drinking water but they have not yielded results.
“My people are crying daily because they need good health facilities to attend to their health needs. We have recorded many casualties because we don’t have good health facilities or potable water to drink. When we have serious health cases, we are forced to rush to neighbouring Anyigba, Ajaokuta, and even Lokoja. At times, before my people get t., things have gone the other way.
“It might interest all of you to know that t. are six general hospitals in Ugwolawo, Igala Ogba and none in Itobe. The institution that will permit us to benefit does not exist. We want your organisation to help us so that we can have a general hospital and potable drinking water for consumption,” he said.
Adaji also drew the attention of the organisation to the deplorable condition of the Itobe Niger Bridge road. According to him, the community gat.d that the road was budgeted, awarded, and money released by the government, but nothing has been done.
He explained that, during the rainy season, some parts of the Itobe township road are usually cut off, t.by making life unbearable for the people in the community.
“We were told that the Itobe Niger Bridge road was captured in the budget, money allocated and later released. But unfortunately, nothing has been done up until this moment. Is it that the money was paid to a ghost? If really money has been paid and the contractor is not willing to do the road, let him return the money to the government,” he said.
While appreciating the performance of outgoing Governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello for what he has done in Kogi State in the last eight years, Adaji charged the incoming administration of Alhaji Ahmed Usman Ododo to consolidate the achievements of his predecessor.
His words: “We want to say a big congratulations to the successful tenure of Alhaji Yahaya Bello. He started well and he is ending well. Our prayer is that the incoming administration will do more for the people of Kogi State.”
The chairperson of the Kogi State NGO network, Idris Ozovehe Muraina, who spoke at the occasion, called on the incoming administration to capture the building of a general hospital and the construction of a functional government water facility in Itobe in a supplementary budget to be presented before the Kogi State House of Assembly.
” It is very worrisome and unfortunate that Itobe, which happens to be an ancient community, does not have potable drinking water, good township road, cottage or even general hospital,” he stated, calling on the members representing Ofu constituency to lobby the executive to ensure that such provisions are taken care of in the supplementary budget.