An activist, Patriot Patrick Eholor has vowed to drag the management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, to a competent court of jurisdiction over alleged extortion and out right corruptive practices as regards Covid 19 testing procedure.
Patriot Eholor who is the founder, One Love Foundation, narrating his ordeal at the hands of staff of the Teaching Hospital on Monday said he was compelled to cough out thirty thousand Naira for the Test and another three hundred and seventy five Naira for what they termed administrative costs.
In his words ,”I will soon be traveling overseas and in strict compliance with acquisition of Covid19 certification, I went to UBTH to undertake the compulsory test only to be asked to pay thirty thousand Naira as test cost. As if that was not insulting enough because health is supposed to be free for every Nigerian, as enshrined in the Constitution, I went and paid the thirty thousand Naira”.
“On getting to the cash Registry, I was told that there is a service charge for additional three hundred and seventy five Naira. And I asked what it was for? ”
“The cashiers answered and said it was Government regulations, that the Hospital Management is partnering with some firms who process theirn forms “.
The Activist said he sees that action as “fraudulent and preposterous.
“I saw a lot of people, even children there who were helpless as they were unable to afford to pay the excess charges for the Covid 19 test.”
“So I am compelled to take them to court. I am going to sue the Hospital Management to make them explain to us why they are putting the burden on us, because I also know that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has directed that no service charge should be more than sixty five kobo in any transaction”.
“I know that over time the CBN has directed that COT and other excessive charges be reduced considerably, to abort exploitation of the public by bankers who thereafter invest the funds to buy properties in highbrow estates abroad.’
Patriot Eholor says this corruption must be stopped, while those who are partnering with Government to perpetuate this evil must be investigated as the ordinary citizens of this nation are very pained, hence he is instituting the legal process to address the issue.
He said he has briefed his lawyer, an Abuja based Legal luminary, Mr Ihensekhien, Esq. to file an action against the UBTH and CBN to explain their actions to the public why they are exploiting innocent Nigerians.
Patriot Eholor who presented copies of the payment vouchers to newsmen said it would have been very calamitous if he could not complete the process of the Covid 19 test as he did not have the extra cash on him, and he had to plead with one Miss Gladys, a complete stranger, who agreed for money to be transferred into her account at the hospital, where she then withdrew the money for him to pay for the test.
He asked if he “did not meet that lady or could not afford the cost”, would he have been allowed to suffer unjustly like others ?”
He likened the situation at the UBTH to the contract at the Lekki Epe tollgate and others where an influential elite received all the royalties and remit pittance to the Government which led to the alleged massacre during the recent #EndSarS protest.
On whether he found out from the Management of the Hospital whether the controversial charges were official, Patriot Eholor said he indeed made a lot of enquires at the Hospital and nobody said the contrary.
He said he was going to report the matter to the Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, Senator representing his Constituency, Edo South Senatorial District at the Senate, Pharmacist Mathew Urhoghide and the Member House of Representatives, representing Oredo Federal Constituency, Rt Hon Ogbeide Ihama for quick intervention to prevent more people from suffering the same humiliation and deprivation.
He said he wants them to as a matter of urgent public importance look at the problem as other countries that are conducting Covid 19 test for free, emphasizing the dreaded monster was still killing people globally.