The festering security crisis in Benue State has assumed a more frightening dimension, as not even the victims of attacks are sure of safety within the hospitals. As at yesterday, no fewer than 800 patients had been evacuated from the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) at Apir, Makurdi, and others due to reported threats of attack by suspected Fulani gunmen.
The press learnt that most of the patients so evacuated have now been lodged at a temporary site, where the number of patients keeps swelling while some are left outside the wards without bed spaces. A health official said on the ground of anonymity that the rumored attack on the Apir settlement by Fulani herdsmen triggered panics in many patients, who then fled their wards for safety.
“The area has been deserted and the place is no longer safe for even some of us, who are members of staff, so we have to close down the place,” the official said.
The FMC Medical Director, Dr. Mathias Oyigeya, confirmed the situation but said the patients and even some of the hospital staff only started moving when they heard rumours of pending attack on the area.
According to him, “the situation was such that you cannot control, but some of the patients in critical condition have been moved to the second centre located within town.”
According to Amosu, “someone who does not know Nigeria Airforce planes may see it and think they belong to the insurgents. We are in full control of the airspace of Nigeria. In the North-East, we have to deploy additional technology to be able to see when we have strange things in the air. Don’t forget that we have air defence capabilities.