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Enugu pupils accident: Controversies over medical bills, parents absolve government

Two weeks after the fatal accident that claimed the death of at least 8 pupils of Presentation Nursery and Primary School, Awgu, in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State, issues around the incident are yet to settle.

This is following a report that some of the parents complained of medical bills.

The report came as a surprise to many following an earlier order by the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi that the government would cater for the medical bills of all the victims.

DAILY POST reliably gathered that apart from the cash given to the victims’ parents during the governor’s visit for their feeding and other sundry expenses, the sum of N5m (five million naira) was also released by the State Government to a member of the Enugu State House of Assembly from the area, Hon. Mrs. Jane Eneh for the medical bills of the victims.

But enquiries showed that none of the parents has received a dime for laboratory tests, drugs and other treatments the victims received prior to the governor’s visit.

Speaking to journalists in Awgu on Sunday, one of the victims’ parents, Vicar of St Marks Anglican Church, Awgu, Ven Victor Oguejiofor, said it was sad that people were playing politics with their moments of grief.

The cleric, who lost a 7-year-old child to the unfortunate indecent, said their pains should not be worsened with unnecessary controversy.

He said there was a need to set records straight as his wife had already been misquoted by certain persons with ulterior motives.

According to him, “I said it earlier that the Governor of Enugu State demonstrated uncommon assistance to us. Before he came to the hospital, he had earlier sent the Deputy Governor.

“Then the day he came, he visited all the victims, went round the ward, even the ICU. That man has uncommon grace to do good. You needed to see him in the hospital that day, how he carried kids around.

“I lost one of my kids to the accident; two survived, and like I said earlier, the government catered for the medical bills.

“The only thing people now misinterpreted for their own selfish and political motive is the fact that before the Governor came, there were some expenses we had incurred, like CT scan, and Ex-ray. But I’m also aware that the Governor gave an order that every kobo spent even before his visit should be reimbursed.

“So, I ask that these little saints should be respected, they should be allowed to rest in peace; their death should not be used to play Enugu politics.

“On the part of the local government chairman of Awgu, I had also said that the young man tried so much. He never rested when this accident occurred, he was all over working to see that the best attention was given to the survivors.”

Speaking in a similar vein, another parent whose child is still being treated at the hospital, with one already discharged, Mr. Ogbonnaya Ugochukwu said they were pleased with the government’s intervention so far.

He said apart from paying the medical bills, the Governor also gave them some cash when he visited the hospital.

He, however, re-echoed that the money spent on drugs and other tests were yet to be given to them contrary to the Governor’s order.

“The governor said it when he came that the money will be given to us. We also heard that it was actually released but it was yet to get to us.

“One of my kids is still there at the UNTH, and we are the one paying for drugs, they are still collecting money from us at the pharmacy; they said we should sort it out later with the government.

“I spoke to the Rev. Fr. , who is the Catholic Church chaplain at the UNTH about it, he said I should be keeping the receipts I used to purchase drugs, that is the situation.

“However, we thank the Governor for his kind attention and support to us but we wish to inform him that his order was not fully complied with.”

A woman who also lost one child and had a survivor, Mrs. Chinenyenwa Eze thanked the State government for coming to their aid.

She, however, complained that she was given lesser cash at the hospital unlike the other parents.

“What they gave me when the governor left was half the money they gave other parents. I don’t know the criteria they used because I lost one of my kids. The one that survived we are still battling with medical expenses because we needed to run a CT scan on her.

“We heard that the Governor released money for all these but it did not get to us,” she lamented.

When contacted, the State lawmaker, Jane Eneh admitted that she actually received the N5m. She however, said she handed it over to the authorities of the Awgu Catholic Diocese, the owners of the school involved in the accident.

Prodded on another cash given to her during the governor’s visit for the families of the 8 victims, she said she delivered the money to them. However, she did not explain why they received different sums of money each.

The UNTH Catholic Church chaplain was also reached but he referred the enquiries to the Diocesan Secretary.

But upon placing a call to the Secretary, he said should be given two seconds to respond but never returned the calls. Efforts to also reach the Bishop of Awgu Catholic Diocese on the matter was also unsuccessful.

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