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Over 70 escape in second Congo prison break this week

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More than 70 inmates broke out of a prison in southwestern Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday, a local activist and a national deputy said, two days after thousands escaped from the capital’s main penitentiary.

Prison breaks are relatively common in Congo, but the latest series of large-scale escapes points to deepening disorder in the wake of President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down from power after his mandate ended in December.

Kabila’s decision to remain in power beyond his mandate has fuelled deadly street protests and a surge in militia violence, raising fears of a backslide to the civil wars at the turn of the century that killed millions.

Valentin Vangi, president of the Civil Society of Kongo Central province, said that 73 of 77 prisoners at the prison in the town of Kasangulu escaped around 2 a.m. (0100 GMT).

“The criminals climbed the wall,” Vangi told Reuters. “When the guard went to inform the police, he left the door open, which allowed them to escape.”

Jean Claude Vuemba, a national deputy from Kasangulu, told Reuters that 73 prisoners had escaped but that 10 had been recaptured by early afternoon. A police spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Wednesday, about 4,000 prisoners escaped from Kinshasa’s Makala prison, according to prisoners, when it was stormed by supporters of a jailed separatist cult leader.

Authorities said on Thursday they had recaptured 179 of the fugitives.

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Dapchi Girls: Ortom identifies with Yobe govt over missing schoolgirls 

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has identified with the government and people of Yobe State over the missing schoolgirls of Government Girls Technical College, Dapchi.

The governor expressed optimism that the schoolgirls will soon be found and reunited with their families.

Governor Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase described the incident as traumatic especially for parents and relations of the schoolgirls, urging security agencies to ensure that the rest of the girls are rescued from the hands of their abductors.

He said the development in Yobe came as a shock to him adding that any attack on children is an attack on the future of the country.

Governor Ortom further assured that the people of Benue State will continue to pray for the families in Yobe whose children are yet to return following the attack on the school.

He states that insecurity in any part of the country should be the concern of every Nigerian and call for timely and useful information made available to security agencies to enable them to live up to their expectations.

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PHOTOS: Olu of Warri visits Buhari

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The Olu of Warri Kingdom, His Majesty Ogiame Ikenwole, leading members of his cabinet to the Presidential Villa for a meeting with President Muhammadu on Friday.

 

 

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Hospital ‘imprisons’ nursing mothers, babies over bills

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  • Partner abandons teenage mother at facility

 

I do not have money to pay. Besides, the loss of the baby is depressing for me. I even begged them to consider my dead baby and empathise with me by reducing the bill, but they rejected all the appeals – Mrs. Funmulayo Adegboye, a petty trader

 

 

Eight women, who were newly delivered of babies, have been detained at the Alimosho General Hospital, Igando, Lagos over their inability to pay accrued hospital bills arising from delivery services. Consequent upon this detention, the movement of the affected women has been restricted to the premises of the Maternity and Child Complex (MCC) domiciled at the Alimosho General Hospital.

The women, who often wear uniforms provided by the hospital, are closely monitored by security officials on duty who ensure that they are always restricted within the MCC. Investigation by New Telegraph shows that it is not only security officials that monitor the detained patients, even nurses on duty keep an eye on the patients anytime any of them steps out of the ward where they are being held.

One of the detained women, Fati Mohammed, had now been abandoned by her spouse owing to the couple’s inability to pay baby delivery service fee. Also detained are Mrs. Anna Ifoga, who is a petty trader; Mrs. Funmilayo Adegboye, also a petty trader, and Mrs. Basirat Kosoko.

According to reliable sources, appeal made to the hospital management by the trio of Funmilayo’s husband, Basirat’s father-in-law and Anna Ifoga, last Friday, seeking for them to be released on bond to enable them pay the outstanding bills by instalment while on release, was rejected by the hospital. According to the detained women, staff of the Welfare Unit, who intervened on their behalf, told the patients that the hospital management insisted that each of them must pay the outstanding bills before they would be allowed to go home. Although they had been discharged after baby delivery, they would not leave the premises of the hospital until they settled their bills.

Speaking to New Telegraph, Basirat’s father-in-law regretted that his son, who is Basirat’s husband is out of job, hence was unable to raise money to pay the N149,000 bill for taking delivery of his baby through caesarean section.

However, Basirat’s fatherin- law initially paid N98,000, leaving a balance of N51,000 to be settled later. Both Basirat and the newly delivered baby were held in the health facility in Igando for two weeks until Monday, February 19, when her father-in-law rallied fam-ily and friends to pay the balance of N51,000. On her part, Funmilayo, who also delivered her baby through caesarean section, was rushed to Alimosho General Hospital on emergency. She lost the baby three days after it was delivered.

However, she was given a bill of N103,000. Although her husband, Mr. Adegboye, had paid N15,000, his appeal to the hospital through the Welfare Unit, was similarly rejected. The detained Funmilayo still has an outstanding bill of N88,000 to settle. Adegboye said his appeal to get the N103,000 bill reviewed downward was rejected by the hospital management. He said: “I have tried to raise money to no avail. I am very disturbed about the way the hospital staff are treating my wife now.

“Presently, my wife has been chased away from the hospital bed; she has been sleeping on a chair in the last four days. They no longer allow her to sleep on the bed. “Although she is not also being served food, hospital staff said both the bills for the two daily meals served to patients at the cost of N800 at N400 per meal and the N250 daily for the bed space will continue to run.

“I do not have money to pay. Besides, the loss of the baby is depressing for me. The baby had died in my wife’s womb even before the surgery was done. “I even begged them to consider my dead baby and empathise with me by reducing the bill, but they rejected all the appeals.”

Funmilayo has been ‘detained’ for two weeks. On her part, Anna has paid N118,000 of the N160,000 bill for caesarean section delivery, remaining a balance of N42,000. She has been held in the hospital for one month because of her inability to pay the balance of N42,000. Relating her ordeal, Anna told New Telegraph that she had gone through labour for two days at the Ikotun home of a traditional birth attendant (TBA) and owing to the delayed delivery; she was rushed on emergency to the Alimosho General Hospital, Igando where it was found that the baby had died in her womb.

Similarly, days after the caesarean surgery, it was found that the stitched stomach had collapsed, through which the open wound was emitting pus. She said: “I was taken into the theatre again where the medical doctors stitched the wound for the second time.

“The stiches have, however, healed now, but I have not been released to go home because of my outstanding bills.” Of all the detained women, Fati Mohammed’s case is the most pathetic. She has been in the hospital for over two months.

Fati, who is from Baga in Borno State, does not know her real age, but appeared to be under 20 years. Going by the turn of events, Fati, whose baby also died even before the caesarean surgery was carried out, may have been abandoned to her fate, considering that neither the man who impregnated her, Diri, nor any of those who rushed her to the hospital has been coming to the hospital to check on her.

It is not clear how much has accrued as her total bill for the caesarean section. Although, the baby died, Fati is lucky to have survived. Relating her ordeal, Fati said she fled Borno State after her husband was slaughtered by Boko Haram members. Also, she said she did not know where the only son of that relationship was presently.

Fati followed others who were fleeing from Boko Haram in Borno, in a trailer to Lagos State and on getting to Lagos, however, she cohabited with some Hausa-speaking people at Alaba in Ojo area of Lagos, where a young Hausa indigene, driving commercial motorcycle, later impregnated her. She said after falling into labour for two days, she was rushed to the Alimosho General Hospital, Igando, where it was found that her baby had died in her womb. Hence, the surgical operation was conducted on her and the dead baby removed. She said: “I did not attend any antenatal throughout the nine months of the pregnancy. However, when labour set in, I laboured for two days but could not be delivered of the baby.”

The caesarean surgery conducted on her to remove the dead baby at the Alimosho General Hospital was successful, but she has not been able to settle the bill. When asked how much the bill amounted to, she said only the nurses could say.

The sad aspect of it is that after visiting Fati on a few occasions but could not pay the bill, Diri, Fati’s spouse stopped further visits to check on her. Presently, Fati disclosed that the man who impregnated her had absconded. Both Fati’s father and mother were killed by the Boko Haram insurgents way back before she arrived Lagos. On how she has survived in the last two months that the hospital management restricted her movement, Fati explained that the hospital had been kind enough to be giving her food daily. She said the meal of patients who could not eat due to health challenge, was sometimes given to her, considering that she had no other source of food or income.

“Sometimes, when some patients cannot eat their food, they will give me the food. I also beg for water to drink,” Fati said. Efforts to get the reaction of the Public Relations Officer of Alimosho General Hospital failed. However, a reliable source in the hospital told New Telegraph that most of the patients being held for inability to pay their bills, were unbooked patients.

They were referred cases from other hospitals brought in on emergency, which the facility responded to, saving their lives, based on its Motto: ‘Patient First’. According to the source, if they had come to the Alimosho General Hospital from the onset of their medical care, especially in care of antenatal, “that way, at least 50 per cent of their bill would have been paid before delivery.”

The source said the hospital battled to save their lives before asking for money. “In order to extend life-saving services to patients on emergency too, the hospital needs to have recurring cash for that,” the source added.

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