Suspected armed robbers numbering about ten on Sunday invaded the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) and stole three newly-born babies as well as properties worth thousands of naira.
Veloxnews gathered that the incident occurred at paediatric unit of the Hospital on Sunday night when the suspected robbers invaded the place, beat up nurses, pregnant women, nursing mothers and stole money, handsets and not less than three newly delivered babies.
Health workers and patients who spoke with newsmen, said the armed robbers arrived the hospital without masks.
“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 pleaded 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”.
When our correspondent visited the hospital on Monday morning, many nurses and other health workers were seen discussing the incident in low tone.
They decried the heightened insecurity in the sprawling and dilapidated hospital which they said for several months now all the security firms and regular policemen have withdrawn their services over non-payment by the management of the institution.
One of the nurses who was consoling the affected nursing mothers who were sobbing uncontrollably over the stealing of their babies, pleaded not to be named and said, “Yesterday night several armed robbers had access into this (paediatric) unit.
“They came with guns and matchetes. 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 said.
According to her, in recent times hospital properties have been stolen again and again. Power distribution is a big problem in the hospital because diesel and generator parts are stolen frequently by the workers and armed robbers.
One of the nursing mothers, who gave her name as Mrs Helen Eteng, said the operation lasted for about twenty minutes, and that they were forced to lie down and close their eyes.
When Veloxnews spoke with the Chief Medical Director of UCTH, Prof Thomas Agan on Monday on phone, he 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 journalist to the event, he shouted, “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, Cross River State Commissioner of Police, Operation, Mr Madaki lamented that the hospital has not reported any incident of that nature 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.