*Gov says recovered looted funds help COVID-19 campaign
*The state gets more ventilators
By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Kwara state government has refurbished the state’s oxygen plant that last functioned in 2011 at usable capacity.
The revamped facility would bolster the state’s capabilities to manage Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients who may require ventilators for a lifeline.
Kwara currently has two COVID-19 cases — both of whom are asymptomatic at the moment.
At a brief ceremony on Friday in Ilorin, the state capital, to hand over the facility for use, Governor AbdulRahmam AbdulRazaq said: “This facility comes handy at this time. If for whatever reason any of our patients require oxygen, Kwara does not need to buy oxygen from any private sources or other states.
“In fact, the plant’s capacity is such that we can sell to private hospitals and some other states. Yesterday, we supported the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) with 13 small cylinders and one big cylinder of oxygen.”
The Governor commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for helping the state to recover looted funds which have become useful in the campaign against COVID-19, adding that the recovered funds strengthened Kwara’s ability to put in place necessary facilities, among other counter-COVID-19 efforts.
“We have bought five new ambulances (three on the ground and two are on the way). We have 10 ventilators now and we expect to have 30 by the end of the month and that’s one of the highest in the country today. We now have a mobile x-ray machine too,” he said, adding that the state had no ventilator until now.
The Governor said the recovered loot became useful in the face of dwindling allocations arising from the global oil crisis, pointing out that the government has turned around the Sobi Specialist Hospital which is now the COVID-19 response center of the state.
He said the administration is now working on having an isolation centre in Offa after which another would be created in General Hospital Kaiama.
Engineer Ben Babatunde, the plant manager, said the oxygen now has 93% purity level and can fill 24 (7mm) oxygen cylinders in one day.
The facility has only worked for 56,156 hours (six years four months) cumulatively since it was established in 2004.
Fixing the long abandoned oxygen plant aligns with AbdulRazaq’s policy of reviving the state’s critical infrastructure — rather than abandoning them to rot away.