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Coronavirus: Gov. Abdulrazaq, Ex-commissioner spar over revival of Oxygen plant in Kwara

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Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and former health commissioner, Suleiman Alege, have disagreed over the revival of an oxygen plant meant for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Recall that the state has recorded four cases of the disease.

Meanwhile, Mr AbdulRazaq said he has refurbished the state’s oxygen plant, nine years after it last functioned. He added that the oxygen plant last worked at the required purity level in 2011.

According to AbdulRazaq’s Press Officer, Rafiu Ajakaye, the revamped facility is to manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients who may require ventilators for a lifeline in Sobi Specialist Hospital, the only isolation in the state.

“This facility comes handy at this time. If for whatever reason any of our patients require oxygen, Kwara does not need to buy oxygen from any private sources or other states,” AbdulRazaq said on Friday in Ilorin at a brief ceremony to hand over the facility for use.

Also, he stated that there has been no ventilator in the state until the ones bought by his administration.

However,  Mr Alege, who served as a health commissioner in the Abdulfatah Ahmed-led administration, countered the claims of Mr AbdulRazaq.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Mr Alege noted that although the machine’s heat exchanger became faulty in 2011, former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed brought in engineers to fix the mechanical fault.

He explained that the Kwara State Oxygen Plant project was conceived during the previous military regime as an Africa Development Bank-supported project but was executed in 2004.

He said: “The Oxygen plant worked for several years, supplying state hospitals and private hospitals,  UITHl and states like Niger, Kogi, Oyo,  and Osun with manufactured oxygen.”

According to Alege, in 2016, Ahmed administration engaged another consultant, Top-Ten Nigeria Limited to manage the plant.

“Top Ten Limited procured a new heat exchanger and started supplying 98 percent oxygen to Sobi Specialist Hospital and other government hospitals.

“A year later, the plant’s molecular sieve and purity level moderator developed a fault. Unable to effect the repair locally, the company opted to import the affected part.  In the interim, the plant’s operation remained epileptic till the end of 2018, contrary to claims by the government’s media handlers,” he disclosed.

He, however, explained that the company’s MOU with the state government to manage the plan is valid up until September 2020.

“To say there was no ventilator in Kwara before now is a big fat lie. We had two functional ventilators in Kwara State before the advent of the present administration, which has only leveraged infrastructure provided by the previous successive governments. For those genuinely interested in these interventions, the records are available. As always, facts are sacred, and the truth is eternal.”

In a statement countering Alege’s, Mr Ajakaye insisted the government inherited no ventilator and said the former commissioner might be required to help the security agencies to locate the ventilators he claimed were bought by the previous administration.

“If what (Alege) said is true that they procured ventilators, then somebody in their team possibly made away with the ventilators or money was released and they were never bought because we inherited no such thing. We, therefore, found in his claim an urgent need to retrieve for Kwarans what should belong to them,” Ajakaye said on Sunday.

The government has said it is reviewing Alege’s comment and may demand him to make a public apology for contradicting its position that Kwara had no ventilator until now.

In a rejoinder obtained by POLITICS NIGERIA, Mr Alege said further investigation revealed that the state government under the last administration decided to prioritize the procurement of more oxygen concentrators in other to service many hospitals since the ventilators are only key in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“Findings revealed that all other medical equipment were procured only the ventilator was stepped down for the reason stated above,” he recanted his previous claim.

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