In a bizarre act of aggression, members of the Joint Health Staff Union (JOHESU) were at the weekend alleged to have stormed the premises of Gwarinpa General Hospital, Abuja, to unleash terror on any visible personnel, especially doctors on duty. They were also said to have vandalised property. The President of the Association of Resident Doctors, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, Dr. Isaac Akerele, who narrated the incident, said it was an act of “sheer luck for many doctors who were on duty to have escaped the onslaught”.
Members of the JOHESU comprising nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, physiotherapists and non-health workers had since November, 2014, been on strike in protest against government refusal to meet their demands. Akerele, however, expressed sadness that a very senior doctor was unlucky and she was terribly manhandled.
He said the attackers broke down all the entrance to the main block including the laboratory and later shot canister of tear gas that triggered severe respiratory distress that necessitated intensive care resuscitation.
Although the reason for JOHESU action was not stated, he noted, it was apparent that they were angered by the fact that Doctors had been successfully attending to patients even with JOHESU on strike.
Akerele described the action of the health workers as a barbaric, totally condemnable, unacceptable and a fatal error. He said his association was reliably informed that the group was led by one Shuaib Onucheyo, a Laboratory Technician with Nyanya General Hospital, who was believed to belong to the militant wing of JOHESU, carrying out this attack on hospitals and doctors.
He said: “This group came to the Gwarimpa General Hospital with all manners of weapons, including firearms that was used to shoot tear gas canisters into the hospital. “This attack left many, including patients injured, with some in critical conditions at the intensive care unit especially a very senior colleague who was attending to preterm babies at the time of this attack.