At about 10pm last night (Friday), Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, showed up unannounced at two hospitals in Maiduguri only to find patients in darkness due to power failure that had lingered for a number of days.
Zulum was at Umaru Shehu Ultra Modern Hospital and Fatima Ali Sheriff Maternity Hospital, both around densely populated Bulumkutu communities in Maiduguri.
The governor had just returned from Abuja and decided to drive from the airport straight to the hospitals, soon after he got hint from private sources that the hospitals were under blackout for days.
Governor Zulum went to see things for himself and he confirmed patients were in darkness because there was lack of diesel supply to standby generators.
Both hospitals relied on generators because of lack of electricity supply from the national grid since Boko Haram destroyed electricity equipment along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, in response to which frantic efforts were still being made by federal and state officials to restore connections to areas yet to have electricity, including parts of Bulumkutu axis.
Zulum, a professor of engineering, asked persons in charge of generators at both hospitals some technical questions, which led to his confirmation that the generators had no problems at all. They were fully functional, but lacked diesel to power them.
“It is very unfortunate that no official either from the Hospital Management Board or the Ministry of Health drew my attention to this outage” the governor queried.
“If we can power our streetlights constantly, I see no reason why we cannot power our hospitals” Zulum lamented as he consoled patients and their loved ones for being in darkness despite dealing with illnesses.
Wondering the quickest way to mobilize diesel, the governor directed that available diesel meant to power generators at the Government House, Maiduguri, where he lives, be immediately transferred by trucks to both hospitals, pending his meeting with officials of the state’s Ministry of Health the following day, to find sustainable solution.
… Orders upgrade of solar installations
Meanwhile, as part of measures to ensure sustainable electricity in both hospitals, Governor Zulum, last night, directed an upgrade of existing solar-powered installation at Fatima Ali Sheriff Maternity Hospital.
Zulum also directed solar installations at Umaru Shehu Ultra Modern Hospital.
The governor, in his usual style, will potentially follow up of his directives to ensure permanent resolution.