The Federal Commissioner in charge of the Public Complaints Commission (OMBUDSMAN) in Rivers State, Marshall Israel, has called on the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, to exempt hospital and pharmacy services from his COVID-19 lockdown Executive Order.
Marshall Israel, in a statement made known on his official Facebook account, wondered why Governor Wike will exclude hospital and pharmacy as essential services during the COVID-19 lockdown.
His post reads: “All over the world, when you shut down a city or place a curfew for whatever reason, there must be special consideration and exceptions to pharmacies and hospitals.”
The OMBUDSMAN in giving reference on where and why hospital, pharmacy be exempted from the lockdown said: “During crisis or war, hospitals and pharmacies are usually allowed to function. Even in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan etc, pharmacies and hospitals are not shutdown.
“Countries and States with the highest Covid19 cases and fatalities didn’t shut down pharmacies and hospitals. This is verifiable.
“When Abuja, Lagos and Ogun were lockdown, pharmacies and hospitals were opened so that sick people can still buy drugs. This is also verifiable, ” he said.
He, however, assured the Governor that he is not against his lockdown policies in its entirety but only seeking amendment to accommodate the sick and other medical issues of emergency.
The Federal Commissioner said, “I am not against Governor Wike’s lockdown Policies or Executive Order, but I am more concerned about pharmacies and hospitals.
“There are pregnant women that go for weekly or daily checkups and antenatal. Some elderly people go for weekly or daily checkups.
“There are people with chronic diseases that go for weekly or daily checkups and requires constant medical attention. Some sick children require medical attention constantly. There are people with high blood pressure that requires steady monitoring.”
Israel told the Governor the implication of not exempting hospital and pharmacy from the lockdown.
He said, “When you shut down a city without opening pharmacies and hospitals and without a window for medical emergencies that may happen anytime, you have inadvertently sentenced people to death.
“It is unheard of and highly unprecedented for a Governor to shut down a city without considering pharmacies and hospitals.
“Telling sick people and pregnant women to get a Permit from the Government before going out to seek medical attention is highly insensitive and nomadic in thinking and concept.
“What about medical emergencies and complications that happen unexpectedly and mostly at night? Ooh my God, who is advising my Governor? I know that the Rivers State covid19 TASKFORCE may use their discretion and allow sick people to pass, but fear of the unknown won’t let them go out. Even if they go out, pharmacies and hospitals are already closed, ” he drew the governor’s attention.
He, however, berated the Governor by saying “My Dear Governor, the people that advised you to shut down pharmacies and hospitals during this shut down do not mean well for you and Rivers people. They are giving you a bad image within and outside Rivers State. The people that are hailing and calling you “OGBU CORONA 1” are nailing you.
“You can destroy HOTELS and AUCTION cars and trucks that violates your Executive Order, I will not complain. I will leave that to your conscience. The victims can seek for a redress in court if they so wish, ” he assured.
The post further reads: “But on the issue of pharmacies and hospitals, I humbly appeal and beg you to reconsider your options. In a bid to protect Rivers State from Covid19, our people should not die in their homes because of fear of being arrested and quarantined by you and Rivers State covid19 TASKFORCE.
“As Marshall Israel, I may decide to keep quiet. But as an OMBUDSMAN and a Federal Commissioner representing Rivers State in the Public Complaints Commission, I am bound by an oath to speak and intervene dispassionately where necessary. And that’s exactly what I have done.
“Please think about it, ” he urged the Governor.