The main entrance gate of Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State was on Monday morning forcefully sealed by some aggrieved members of the host community who were protesting against the alleged government’s encroachment on the communal land located behind the teaching hospital.
Consequently, the blockade resulted in preventing vehicles, workers and patients from going in or coming out of the hospital complex for several hours.
Our correspondent gathered that as early as 8am, the protesters, comprising mainly youths and some landlords in the community, had converged at the main gate of the teaching hospital, carrying placards with various inscriptions just as they sang solidarity songs in condemnation of the alleged takeover of their land by the authorities without compensation.
One of the protesters, who did not want his name in print, while speaking with journalists, stated, “The affected community, by this protest, is only taking proactive measures against the government over our genuine fear that the authorities may, at the end of the day, renege on the agreed terms for utilising the communal land.”
The source noted that the owners of the landed properties located behind DELSUTH resorted to staging the protest following rumours that the government had already concluded arrangements to move in to commence construction work for a private school.
“So, the landlords held an emergency meeting on Sunday where we resolved to protest so that the government should deem it fit to redeem its pledge to compensate us before taking over our land for the planned nursery school,” the source said.
The PUNCH, however, noted that the teaching hospital’s main gate was eventually flung open to the public by the protesters at about noon, following appeals by the management of the institution which also called for an emergency dialogue with the stakeholders comprising representatives of the protesting community leaders.
Speaking with The PUNCH at the end of the closed-door meeting of the teaching hospital management with the aggrieved community leaders, Mr Item Emmanuel, public relations officer of DELSUTH said, “The management is on top of the matter.”