Staff of Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, whose management was sacked by Kano state government, say they are being stopped from leaving the hospital premises by “thugs” deployed by the state government.
Kano government shut down operations of the hospital after almost three years of its operation under private management.
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The management company, Northfield Health Services, was issued a court injunction last Monday June 21 to evacuate in eight days, ending on June 29.
The hospital is to be taken over by the Kano State Ultramodern Hospital Board, it has been learnt.
“With the takeover by the government of the hospital, the doctors and other administrative staff are also asked to vacate the premises,” a staff who didn’t want to be named told Daily Trust Tuesday night.
“Now the governor put thugs at the gate and they have refused to allow us get out with our belongings.”
The source said no reason was given for the refusal to let staff resident in the hospital’s staff quarters leave with their belongings.
Another source at the hospital confirmed staff were not being let out, but said Northfield was in talks with the government to sort out the situation.
“They have told us to wait, but we don’t know for how long,” the source said Tuesday night.
The evacuation notice comes despite a six-year contract signed with Northfield by the Kano government.
A staff of the hospital told Daily Trust on last Tuesday that, with the injunction, systems were cut off—“everything needed to manage patients in the ward was shut down, patients in the ward cannot get care.
“As a government, you cannot cut resources to save people’s lives,” he added.
Another hospital staff confirmed the shutdown and said work was on managing patients at present.
“One cannot do otherwise. You are aware of court orders. One has to just comply,” one of them told Daily Trust last Tuesday on conditions of anonymity.
“We are trying to discharge those who are fit. Those that are not fit, we are just trying to manage them for the time being.
“Our patients in the ward are being taken care of, pending when things getting sorted with those who are going to take over.
Order breach of contract
A top-ranking official said demanding handover of management and facilities of the hospital to KUSH board is in breach of the six-year contract signed with Northfield.
Northfield is challenging the move, but it is uncertain how that plays out within the eight-day period.
“Our legal team is working to see what is obtainable, the matter is before the court.
“We cannot make logical comments until we run that course,” the official said.
Some insiders have declined to speak openly to Daily Trust about the implications of the evacuation order, citing Kano’s polarisation along party lines and camps.
Sources tell Daily Trust the order is a political move by the Kano governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, to secure stronger control of the hospital.
“His term ends in two years and the contract will outlive him, and he can’t do anything about it if he doesn’t make a move now.”
Calls put through to Kano health commissioner Aminu Tsanyawa to comment on the closure timed out without response Tuesday night.
Hours later, staff who reached out to Daily Trust insisted, “The situation is the same. We still can’t get our things out.”