Collapsed church building: Why A/Ibom is yet to pay outstanding N100m medical bills

The collapsed Reigners’ Church structure

The Akwa Ibom Government is yet to pay the outstanding N100 million medical bills accumulated by patients who received treatment in private hospitals after a church building collapsed in  Uyo on Dec. 10, 2016.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr  Dominic Ukpong, said in Eket that the governor had paid N200 million in  medical bills and was still  trying to raise money  to pay the outstanding N100 million.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  recalls  that the incident,  which claimed 30 lives,  occurred  during the bishopric enthronement of the  founder of  Reigners’ Bible Church, Apostle Akan Weeks.

The commissioner described the incident as unfortunate, adding, however,  that nobody should blame the governor.

“A year ago there was an unfortunate incident  where a  church collapsed and killed so many people.

“When the church collapsed, 18 people died at the spot and 12 other  people died outside which became 30  people who died, ” Ukpong said.

The commissioner  said many patients who were treated in various private hospitals could not pay their medical bills.

According to him, the hospitals were insisting on payment of  their medical bills and the governor took it upon himself to pay.

“I didn’t have the the money to pay,  but the governor asked  me to tell them (hospitals)  not to charge  the patients and  that he will pay them,’’ he said.

He, however, said the bills were high because government had shown a commitment to pay, adding that there were instances where a patient was charged N9 million in medical bills.

“By the time all the bills came in, they went as far as several hundreds of millions and the state could not pay all the bills at the same time,” he said.

He also said one of the victims was paralysed during the incident and the governor directed the Head of Service to pay her salary for the rest of her life.

Ukpong further added that the state government bought  a wheelchair and special bed for the victim.

The commissioner restated government’s commitment  to improving  health services for the benefit of the people of the state.