By Philip Yatai
Some victims of the building that collapsed on Wednesday in Abuja, have commended the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, for settling their medical bills.
A two-story building located at Lagos Street, Garki Village collapsed on Wednesday, killing two with 37 others evacuated to different hospitals for treatment.
Wike, who visited the scene on Thursday directed the Federal Capital Territory Administration to settle all the medical bills of the victims, receiving treatment in different hospitals in the FCT.
Responding to the gesture, the victims said that they were well taken care of since the minister’s declaration that their medical bills would be paid by the government.
They stated this when government officials, led by Mr Malan Haruna, acting Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory Administration visited them in hospitals on Saturday.
One of the victims, Mr Abdullahi Modibbo, receiving treatment at Asokoro District Hospital, Abuja, said he has not paid any amount following the minister’s declaration.
Modibbo thanked the minister for the support, which he described as “life saving”, adding that health workers were taking very good care of him.
“I was in my room on the first floor when the building collapsed on Wednesday night. I was trying to help myself when a boulder fell on my leg, causing a fracture.
“I am happy with the prompt response of government agencies who evacuated us and took us to the hospital for treatment, and now they have offered to pay all our bills. I am truly grateful,” he said.
The Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital, Mrs Aishatu Tenebe, said that eight victims were brought to the facility of which seven were treated and discharged.
Another victim Mr Garba Nagoma, at Cedarcrest Hospital Gwarinpa, was elated when he learned that his hospital bills would be settled by the government on the directive of the government.
Nagoma said that his brother has already paid N500,000 to the hospital as the first bill.
“This is good news knowing that my bills would be paid by the government. I am really grateful for the support,” he said.
The victims said that he visited his friend who resides on the first floor of the building when it collapsed.
“We were having a conversation when one of our friends alerted us that the building is about to collapse.
“We dashed to escape but we were late. The building collapsed with us while we were still on the first floor, and I survived with a fracture.
The Group Managing Director of the Hospital, Dr Kingsley Ikpe, said that Nagoma was the only victim that was brought to the hospital and assured that the hospital would provide the needed care to the victim.
Similarly, Mr Shehu Mohammed, another victim receiving treatment for head and eye injuries at Garki Hospital, Abuja, equally lauded Wike for coming to their aid.
Mohammed said he owned a tailoring shop in the building and was still working in the shop when it collapsed.
A medical officer at the facility, Dr Winifred Esite, said that 14 victims were brought to the hospital of which 12 were treated and discharged while one died.
On her part, Mrs Charity Amadi, one of the victims that was treated and discharged from the facility, equally thanked the FCT minister for the support.
Amadi, a mother of two and currently pregnant, said they were currently taking shelter at Cherubim and Seraphim Area 2 Shopping Centre, Abuja, adding that they lost everything in the wreckage.
“I am glad that the government has come to our aid because the hospital asked me to be coming for a check up to ensure that my unborn baby and I are fine,” she said.
Speaking after the visit, the acting Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat, FCTA, said he and his team visited the hospitals on the directive of the minister.
Haruna recalled that Wike had directed the FCTA to settle the medical bills of all those affected, “so we are here in compliance with his directive.
“We have gone round some of the hospitals and we have seen their condition on the instruction of the minister to ensure that they are well taken care of.
“So far, four victims are still receiving treatment in hospitals, 31 have been treated and discharged, while two have died.
“We have directed the victims to write the bills and forward them through FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the health secretariat for onward submission to the Permanent Secretary.
“The quality of services we have seen is very excellent as testified by the victims themselves,” he said.
The Head of Search and Rescue, Mr Oyegun Moses, said that of the two victims that died, one died at the scene of the collapsed building, while the other died at Garki Hospital while receiving treatment.
On the pregnant woman, Mrs Amadi, Moses confirmed that she would be visiting the hospital for observation to ensure that her unborn child was safe and healthy.
He assured that any medical bill incurred during the visits would be taken care of by the government.