The Monumental Fraud called the Edo Ultramodern Central Hospital Part 4 ~ By Sota Omoigui
Obaseki Tear down that death trap called the 5-star Edo State Ultramodern Specialist Hospital
Sometime, in 2008, Obaseki met Oshiomole on a Lagos Benin flight at a time Oshiomole was fighting his appeal at the election tribunal. Knowing that the obioma tailor Oshiomole has no experience in governance, Obaseki offered to show him the ropes free of charge.
Obaseki set up an Edo Advisory Group policy team to write up a policy platform. Obaseki called me in the USA to write the healthcare platform for Edo State.
When Oshiomole won his appeal, all of us policy platform team came to Benin to meet with him and Obaseki. I discussed with Obaseki privately prior to the meeting and emphasized the importance of accountability, honesty and transparency for the new administration.
Obaseki recoiled with horror at such foreign concepts. That was the end of any private interaction I had with him. My plan called for the rehabilitation and renovation of the existing Central Hospital. At the meeting, I found Obaseki and Oshiomole hell bent on building a new Central hospital. This was in 2008.
Of course because this provided the greater avenue for them to loot the funds. Oshiomhole and Obaseki had set their minds on constructing a brand new Central Hospital which would be a bigger and easier project to embezzle funds from.
When I left the two of them and came back to the USA, I told everyone that both of them were frauds. And I really hoped for the sake of our Edo State citizens, that I would be proved wrong. Unfortunately, time would prove that the whole project of the new ultramodern 5 star Edo State Specialist hospital, was nothing but a fraudulent and criminal enterprise. WATCH VIDEO
Several months after take-off of the project dubbed “five star hospital,” its west wing under construction collapsed, trapping and injuring six of the workers and killing the 65 yr old site engineer- an Italian. Heavy lift equipment was rushed to the site and the search and rescue took several hours. By the time they got to the site engineer, he was already dead. Engineers at the site said the concrete was so weak that you could break it with your fingers. The iron rods used for the 4-storey building was not fit for use in a chicken coop. In fact they said the question was not if the building was going to collapse but when.
The Central Hospital (also called Specialist Hospital) project was a fraudulent enterprise from day of conception. It was a monumental fraud that will live in infamy as one of the biggest frauds ever committed in Nigeria. Billions of naira were borrowed and shared leaving a little left for the contractor to implement. At the end of the day, the only result was to mortgage the future of our Edo children for a zero star hospital that needs to be demolished.
Obaseki and Oshiomhole never intended to provide the tertiary hospital services needed by the citizens of Edo State. Oshiomhole, a man seeking relevance at every turn for the sole reason to protect himself from investigation and imprisonment for the gargantuan theft he perpetuated on Edo State. A man who deprived his entire state of healthcare and who used Edo state funds to build a university in his village Iyamho and transferred the university to his private company. A man willing to grovel on his ragged bony knees begging for forgiveness from one palace to another, to impose a new godson Ize-Iyamu on the Edo Electorate. He should be reminded of Proverb 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth; But the righteous are bold as a lion.
A total sum of N1.67 billion was appropriated for the hospital in the 2014 Edo State budget, N3.5 billion in 2015 and N5.1 billion in 2016. In all, he said a total sum of N10.27 billion was appropriated to the Accident and Emergency ward of the hospital in three years and the Obaseki government also provided the sum of N500 million for the hospital in the 2017 Edo State budget. READ HERE
Yet the newly constructed hospital does not and cannot function, while the old hospital is in a decrepit condition. The design and construction of the hospital was just an avenue for patronage and theft. As it is now, the Benin Central hospital has only one general surgeon, no X-ray services and eye clinics because the structures housing these units were demolished to give way for the construction of the new hospital. Thus the greed of Obaseki and Oshiomhole, have deprived thousands of Edo Citizens of their eye care as well as their sight.
The so-called ultramodern 5-star hospital – A gift that keeps on giving for Obaseki and Oshiomhole while hundreds of thousands of Edo citizens are sick and dead because of lack of medical care.
The two of them who have run the state with complete opacity like a secret society where funds being spent are hidden and not subject to audit, public panel reports paid by tax payers never see the light of the day. These two crooks have their hands dripping with blood, starting with the Italian Engineer who died at the scene when the building collapsed.
We executed the armed robber Lawrence Anini and his co-conspirators on March 29th, 1987 and executed the other armed robber Ishola Oyenusi at Bar Beach on September 8, 1971 for stealing a whole lot less and killing just a handful of people.
The Federal government must immediately initiate a criminal enquiry to bring to justice, Oshiomhole, Obaseki and their co-conspirators that are involved in this monumental and homicidal fraud called the 5 star ultramodern Central Hospital. This death trap must be demolished to avoid loss of lives. At any point in time and/or with the slightest earth tremor, the whole hospital will come crashing down.
Obaseki, swallow your shame, waive your immunity and tear down that hospital!
December 2010 – Oshiomhole unveiled plans to construct an ultra-modern hospital ward on the premises of the Edo State Specialist Hospital.
Obaseki as Chairman of the state Economic and Strategy team, was part and parcel of the executive council of the Oshiomhole government, that voted to approve the multi billion naira contract to construct the hospital. The contract is with construction company Messrs Sincies Chiementin International for the construction of a 120 bed inpatient ward. The project included an accident ward and an emergency ward, was estimated to cost N2.48bn ($16m) and was to be completed within 18 months. The contract was subsequently varied to N3 billion. The company has no qualified structural engineer.
N3.5 billion out of N5 billion was then paid to procure the specialist hospital equipment from Oshiomhole’s girlfriend and chief bribe taker Golda Osikhena, a caterer from Abuja, who had hurriedly incorporated her Vamed Hospital Equipment company. Obaseki was the one at the State Executive Council meeting who specifically argued that the Vamed contractor be paid 75% up front allegedly as a hedge for a possible devaluation of the naira.
Against the contract agreement Golda promptly took the money and placed in a fixed deposit domiciliary account to yield her additional interest revenue READ HERE
That contract money was shared by Golda and her co-conspirators including Oshiomhole and Obaseki and no hospital equipment was ever delivered.
The architecture and design contract was shared to APC politician-architect Tom Ikimi’s company, Tom Ikimi Design Company. This is a company that has never designed a hospital. There was no built in oxygen piping for the new hospital. After the collapse of the hospital, the subsequent report faulted the project architect, Tom Ikimi Design Co., over the design of the raft foundation of the project and recommended that the entire building be brought down.
Construction was taken over by Oshiomhole’s Quantity Surveyor who not only provided the estimate but selected the contractor, single handedly raised certificates for payment, unilaterally supervised the construction including structural work. This quantity surveyor has been the sole quantity surveyor on virtually all projects during the 8 years of Oshiomhole’s tenure READ HERE
June 4th 2012 – the entire 4 stories of one of the wings of the hospital collapses, crushing some of the workers and killing the Italian engineer READ HERE
November 2012 – Oshiomhole set up a panel to amongst others to investigate the cause of the incident and make recommendation accordingly. Among the interest groups in the panel representatives of the Nigeria Society of Engineers, NSE, Nigeria Institute of Architects, NIA, Council of Registered Builders and the Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors.
Eight years and counting, after the mishap, the committee report was never made public. The executive summary of the leaked investigative report indicated that the panel indicted the government. “there was project management failure that led to the lapses which resulted to the building collapse”. Besides, the panel stated that the main contractor (SCInt), was selected without any input from the project architects (TDC) and that the project architect, TomIkimi Design Co. erred in the design of the raft foundation of the project.
The report further reads in part, “Clearly, there was no proper project planning for this construction project. In this case, proper monitoring and quality control by Government, Ministries, and the Consultants were conspicuously ignored. Ministry of Works failed to meet up with the challenge of overseeing the successful completion of the project.”
At the end of the day, that panel came out with a very clear report saying that the entire structure should be demolished and if you want to retain it, what it will cost the government to erect the supportive pillars that will give that project the structural health it deserves will be more expensive than bringing it down and start afresh.
But for some strange reasons and because of the embarrassment it was going to cause the government, they ignored that report by the panel and they ended up putting one or two pillars to say they have completed the project. So, what we actually have there is a disaster waiting to happen. It may take three years, it may take ten years but I will not be surprised if one day we wake up and we hear that the whole thing crashed into the ground READ HERE
March 2014 – Oshiomhole re-awards the contract for the hospital to a new company, Messrs S & A Construction Company with a one-year completion period. There is no recourse to the probe panel findings which admonished the government to bring the entire structure down before work would re-commence.
Oshiomhole is yet to reveal how many more billions was paid to the new contractor. Even when the Oshiomhole administration re-awarded the contract for the reconstruction of the collapsed part of the building, the recommendation for a complete demolition was not heeded. READ HERE
April 7th, 2014 – Dan Orbih, Chairman of Edo State chapter of the PDP decried the re-awarding of the Central Hospital building project by the state government, instead of demolition as recommended by the panel set up by Oshiomhole to investigate the collapse. This was not only an embarrassment but a ploy by government to endanger the lives of the people of the state WATCH VIDEO
June 17th, 2014 – Re-construction work is ongoing at the site of the hospital collapse. Project engineer Clement Anyiam from A&K Construction Company stated on Independent TV and Radio as follows “We met the project in a devastated stage” WATCH VIDEO
“The state government had the confidence that A&K Construction will be able to remove the shame that this project was going to bring into this state” “ Majority of the project will need to be demolished”
However shoddy job and incompetence once again, compounded the woes of the building. Instead of fixing it, A&K left it with gaping holes in the roof which ultimately led to leakages. The entire roof subsequently had to be removed and replaced.
July 19th, 2014 – Again, Oshiomhole refuses to heed the advice of A&K Construction company, to demolish the structures and rebuild. He decides to patch up the hospital. WATCH VIDEO
September 11th 2014 – Video by Independent TV and Radio shows Oshiomhole admitting the structural defects in the construction of the hospital. The site manager Serge Haoutun is seen explaining to Oshiomhole that errors have been corrected and that the foundation and columns for the ramp are weak and have been reinforced by adding extra steel and concrete WATCH VIDEO
October 8th 2014 – A visit by the Edo House of Assembly shows the deplorable state of the paediatric ward where a private citizen had to donate money to repair the roof that had caved in WATCH VIDEO
November 7th, 2016 – One week to the end of the tenure of the Oshiomhole administration, in November 7th 2016, Obaseki stood behind Oshiomhole as President Buhari was deceived and put in harm’s way to commission the non functioning 4-storey hospital. Buhari noted that the hospital is the best legacy Governor Oshiomhole would be bequeathing to the people of the state WATCH VIDEO
The President was completely ignorant of the fact and his intelligence services failed to inform him that the hospital was susceptible to collapse at any moment,
A few days before the launching of the hospital project by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Oshiomhole hijacked beds and hospital equipment from Stella Obasanjo Hospital and commandeered furniture from a nearby secondary school to stage the launch of his lifeless Specialist Hospital extension.
Right there without an iota of regret, Oshiomhole told President Buhari and the other guests that the hospital was ready for takeoff and that Edo people will not need to travel too far any longer for the treatment of cancer.
The hospital was termed a five-star hospital with the capacity to carry out a wide range of treatments normally not available in the country. It would include a cancer treatment centre as well as an accident and emergency ward. The ex-Governor orchestrated the ceremonial cutting of the tape to the project only to ship the beds and the furniture back to their rightful locations later that night after the President’s departure READ HERE
The hospital was then locked back up for the next three years and became a host to rodents and reptiles The hospital continues to be non functioning and a danger to the public.
July 2017 -. Obaseki, while speaking at the annual public lecture series of the Correspondents Chapel, stated that his government lacked the capacity to run the new hospital. He said his new focus was to retool all primary health care centres. His plan now is to bring in private sector participants to run the hospital. Going further he said: “My concern is that given what we have designed, the equipment we have purchased, we do not have the capacity to run the new five star hospital READ HERE
These statements were seriously lampooned by the former PDP chair Dan Orbih as well as stakeholders including the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA and the Edo Coalition for Good Health and Healthy Living (ECGHHL)
September 20th, 2017 – Sahara tv posts a video where an Edo State citizen laments the deplorable condition of the only functioning part of the Central Hospital WATCH VIDEO
June 28th, 2018 – Video posted in the Standard Gazette shows the dilapidated state of the Central Hospital. Obaseki government claim that they are working towards the renovation but do not want to be distracted now WATCH VIDEO
September 11th, 2018 – Obaseki received a GOODS COMPLETION CERTIFICATE from Vamed Engineering.”
“The certificate, by its arrival and reception, conveyed the comprehensive “supply & installation of medical equipment to the new accident and emergency unit and 200-bed ward complex at the five-star central hospital.”
September 18th, 2018 – Obaseki wrote a letter of commendation to Vamed Hospital Equipment for having fulfilled the terms of the contract of supply of hospital equipment to the hospital and praying that they should help to train some of the personnel that would be handling this equipment.
June 2019 – Official opening of the new hospital. The waiting appeared to be over for intending patients.
July 11th, 2019 – The hospital had its healthcare services showcased on ITV channel assuring residents of quality healthcare. This video was long on propaganda and missing on evidence. No patients were shown receiving any services. There were several beds with just mattresses and a few scattered equipment, none of which were shown to be operable. WATCH VIDEO
At the time, Obaseki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Communication & Strategy, Crusoe Osagie said he is burdened by a heavy bill for repairs and irregularities in supply of equipment for use at the medical facility.
“Edo state government is under pressure to set up a Commission of Enquiry to probe the billions sunk into the numerous contracts awarded for the building of the hospital.
The Commission of Enquiry would have a mandate to ascertain if details of contracts were strictly followed, especially the quality of materials as heavy bills is being incurred for patch up work at the hospital and determine the extent of irregularities regarding the purchase of equipment, among others”.
The commission of enquiry was to be chaired by retired Justice Oyomire with the frame of reference to determine the processes leading to the conceptualization, design, construction and equipping of the Benin Specialist/Central Hospital Extension (originally designated as the Accident and Emergency Unit) and determine if same were in breach of the Edo State Procurement Law and other extant Laws and procedures in that regard.
There is no honor among thieves. This commission of enquiry was just a smoke screen for a political hit job and nothing more. This made no sense when Obaseki had already issued a letter of commendation, two years earlier for the supply of the imaginary equipment by Vamed. Oshiomhole was never requested or called to testify at the commission of Enquiry. Of course because if Oshiomhole had testified, his co-conspirator Obaseki would also have been indicted.
May 15th, 2020 – The Judicial Commission of Enquiry indicted the administration of the former governor Adams Oshiomhole for breach of the state’s Public Procurement Law. Justice Oyomire said, Oshiomhole paid 75 per cent of the contract sum upfront for the project to Vamed Engineering.
The commission’s eight-point recommendation included that the Ministry of Justice should institute civil and criminal actions against those found culpable in the breach of the law.
June 1st, 2020 – A federal high court sitting in Abuja issued an interim order restraining the governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki from arresting and prosecuting Adams Oshiomhole.
Nothing surprising! In a nation under President Buhari, where corruption is free for all and corruption with impunity is the order of the day.
This was a satisfactory ending for both co-conspirators Obaseki and Oshiomhole as Obaseki dared not proceed with any prosecution of Oshiomhole as Obaseki is neck deep in the fraud. READ HERE
The Federal government must immediately initiate a criminal enquiry to bring to justice, Oshiomhole, Obaseki and their co-conspirators that are involved in this monumental and homicidal fraud called the 5 star ultramodern Central Hospital.
This death trap must be demolished to avoid loss of lives. At any point in time and/or with the slightest earth tremor, the whole hospital will come crashing down.
Obaseki, swallow your shame, waive your immunity and tear down that hospital!
Sota Omoigui MD
Co-author, Nigerian National Anthem