Sitting hopeless, helpless and hapless on a sickbed is a veteran journalist
who served in the Bayelsa state Civil Service before his retirement in
2012. Until his retirement, he served as the substantive News Editor at the
Bayelsa state Newspaper Corporation.
Mr. Thompson Oyatu is not a happy man at the moment and he is not
pretending about it. He looks pale and frail. The former News Editor of the
New Waves newspaper is critically ill and needs proper medical attention
but that seems to be very far from coming his way. The prolific writer is
currently battling with a bulging stomach resulting from the blockage of
his large intestine, experts say.
The retired civil servant was rushed to the emergency ward at the Bayelsa
Specialist Hospital, Government House in Yenagoa over three weeks ago.
He wanted an effective and perhaps more affordable medical attention
following the much talked about medical services put in place by the
On the contrary, the 64 years old media guru told a team of journalists who
visited him at the hospital that he was shocked and crestfallen by his
According to him, no medical treatment had been administered to him neither
were there qualified medical Doctors to analyze his situation since his
arrival at the hospital.
He recounted that the entire Male Ward could boast of only five Nurses and
a handful of student Doctors who had been administering only BP check on
him while his situation deteriorates by the day. The once agile pen pusher
is now a shadow of his own self.
Obviously, Mr. Oyatu, who is also the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the
Verdict Newspaper has some grouse with Governor Seriake Dickson’s
leadership style over what he described as his “diversionary tendencies” .
Oyatu’s misgiving about the Restoration Government is doubled headed.
Firstly, he feels highly disappointed at the level of medical services
being rendered to patients at the state owned Specialist Hospital on which
huge amount of state funds had been expended.
Secondly, he believes strongly that the present administration is
insensitive to the plights of retired civil servants in the state.
He pointed out that since his retirement six years ago, he was yet to
receive his gratuity, consequent upon which he could not subscribe to the
Bayelsa state Health Insurance Scheme.
“His words: “Since l came to this hospital, no Doctor has actually attended
to me judiciously. I came in here more than ten days ago. I gained
admission into the Emergency Ward before l was transferred to the Male
Ward. Since then, nothing has been done.
” The place looks deserted. Doctors are not on their regular duties. The
ones that manage to come are just perambulating all over the place.
“What brought me here is stomach problem but up till now, l have not been
able to know what is wrong with my stomach which is suddenly bulging.
“They have sent me to run series of tests including stomach and chest scans
but no Doctor has been able to analyze the medical reports l brought to
them and tell me my situation. All they have told me is ‘BP’. Since last
Wednesday till date, it is BP.
“They keep promising that they were going to invite specialists from
outside the hospital. The next thing, they said they will take me to the
theatre to open me up; that something is blocking my large intestine. They
are not even sure of what they want to open me up for.
“In the whole of this male ward, there are only five Nurses, what can they
do? As you can see, non of them is here.
“In short, l have requested that they should discharge me from this place
so that l may go elsewhere to take care of myself. There are no resident
Doctors here as far as l am concerned. I have personally talked to the few
ones that come around and found out that they are all Corps Members.
Continuing, he said “the most pathetic aspect of the Bayelsa state medical
scheme is the serious propaganda that is going on everywhere.
“Contrary to what we hear out there, bills are highly exorbitant here. They
are charging me N4,100 per day while l buy drugs from outside the hospital.
I have not received any treatment, yet they are demanding N58,000 before l
could be discharged.
“Patients on admission here are calling on individual Doctors and Nurses
from elsewhere to come and help them. A young man who is a subscriber to
the so-called Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme just discharged himself this
morning due to lack of care. There are no drugs, no qualified manpower.
“The way l look at the whole thing; the way l understand it, it is a ruse.
It is a way of siphoning the money of the state.
On the non payment of gratuity to retired civil servants, the beleaguered
ex-civil servant said “we are being deprived of having access to good
medical services because the government of the day is insensitive to out
“Since this government came into power six years ago, it has not paid any
gratuity. That is why we can’t subscribe to the health insurance scheme.
“Instead of them to use the bail out funds and the Paris Club money to
clear our gratuity, they decided to divert the funds to other places. Maybe
he is waiting for our death just as many of us have died out of
“When l die, let him take my gratuity. This is a diversionary tendency so
that when they are called upon to give account, they would say we use the
money for medical services. Bayelsa state is in trouble”.