About ten suspected armed robbers on Sunday invaded the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) and snatched three newly-born babies as well as valuables worth thousands of naira.
It was gathered that the incident occurred at the paediatric unit of the Hospital on Sunday night when the gunmen invaded, beat up nurses, nursing mothers pregnant women, and stole money, handsets and at least three newly delivered babies.
Patients and Health workers who spoke with journalists, revealed that the armed robbers arrived the hospital without face covering.
“The robbers, who brandished their guns, had free access into the maternity section without any resistance and immediately began to go from one bed to bed picking babies.
An eyewitness who spoke on the condition of anonymity said “The incident, which happened late Sunday night was a repeat occurrence at the same hospital where a number of babies were reported to have been stolen”.
On the visit to the hospital on Monday morning, many nurses and other health workers were seen conversing the incident in low tone.
They lamented the heightened insecurity in the dilapidated hospital which they said for several months now all the security outfits and regular policemen have withdrawn their services over non-payment by the management of the facility.
One of the nurses consoling the affected nursing mothers who were weeping uncontrollably over the loss of their babies to the armed robbers, pleaded anonymity and said, “Yesterday night several armed robbers had access into this (paediatric) unit.
“They came with guns and machetes. They beat up my colleagues and nursing mothers. They took away some babies, handsets and money as well as other personal valuables from the patients and nursing mothers.
“The security in this hospital has been very porous. Lives of patients, nurses and doctors are at risk. There is nowhere in this hospital that is safe.
“Visitors are no longer been controlled, people troop into the wards without check. Many visitors including thieves come into hospital in the name of being patients’ relatives “, she disclosed.
According to her, lately, hospital properties have been stolen times without number. Power distribution is a big mess in the hospital because diesel and generator parts are stolen recurrently by the staff and armed robbers.
One of the nursing mothers, who gave her name as Mrs Helen Eteng, said the robbery operation lasted for about 20 minutes, and that they were forced to lie down on the floor and close their eyes.
The Chief Medical Director of UCTH, Prof Thomas Agan when contacted said, “You people always come to hear negative stories, the whole of last week, we hosted the largest number of gynaecologists in this hospital, no journalists in the state came”
When he was reminded that he did not invite any news reporter to the event, he yelled, “Who invited you to cover this, did I invite you to come and gossip” he fumed and said, “I don’t know what you people are talking about, somebody called earlier, I am not aware of what you are talking about,” he added
Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, Cross River State, Mr Madaki agonized that the hospital has not reported such incident to the police.
“No such report has been made to the police, up till this moment (4pm) Monday, I am speaking to you, no report has been made to us,” he stated.