The Ebonyi State Government has taken over the Presbyterian Joint Hospital in Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state following a petition by the community that their 100-year lease on the hospital had expired.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Daniel Umezurike, stated yesterday that the state government had to revoke the right of occupancy of the hospital established in 1912 in the public interest.
The community had petitioned n the state government alleging misappropriation of funds, high medical bills, use of obsolete equipment, and absence of qualified doctors, calling for a takeover.
Umezuruike said the community also alleged poor management of the hospital.
He said: “Uburu people donated the land to the Church of Scotland Mission in 1912, not to the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria.
“When the Church of Scotland was leaving, the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria came in, probably because most of the workers were members of the church, especially the Governor of old Eastern Region, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, but ownership was never transferred to them (PCN).
“The hospital was offering qualitative services until the 90s when the Church of Scotland stopped sending personnel from the Netherlands, and the clinical services and management became completely indigenous with attendant deterioration.”
The commissioner said the ownership lease expired in 2011, adding that the PCN or any other body linked with the owner failed to apply for a renewal of the ownership lease.
He said to prevent a complete breakdown of law and order, the State Executive Council on July 14, in accordance with the Land Use Act (Cap L.5 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004) was forced to revoke the right of occupancy in the public interest.
Umezuruike said the House of Assembly affirmed the revocation, saying the hospital had been renamed Ebonyi State University Community General Hospital.
The state government asked those managing the hospital to step down immediately.