Midday, Sunday, November 5, another victim was added to the long list of casualties of the non-payment of salaries by Kogi State government. The addition, Zacchaeus Akinola Maliki, a highly committed civil servant, until his death worked with the Kogi State Local Government Pension Board. He was owed over 22 months in salary arrears before he died – an act which made it difficult for him to access medication early enough for the phenomenon that eventually shut up the entire lung.
After struggling without success to buy some of the drugs prescribed for his ailment, he opted for the local herbs which were, by far, relatively cheap. All through his ordeal as an unpaid worker, he depended on siblings, well-wishers and friends to survive. When his condition became worse, his family members were informed and he was immediately taken to Kabba Specialist Hospital, where they spent fortunes on tests and medical examinations.
After weeks in the hospital, he was referred to Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, in the state capital where it was discovered that one of his lungs was filled with fluid.
From FMC, Lokoja, he was referred to Specialist Hospital Gwagwalada for further medical examination. The new test revealed a need for another major surgery in the lungs. He died four days after the surgery.
The most devastating in the entire scenario is the fact that the family sent an SOS to the state government in the hope that some of his salary arrears would be paid to enable him carry out the surgery in good time. And an emissary of the state government, led by a young lady, visited the family members in the hospital. According to her, the mission of her team was to confirm that Akinola Maliki was a genuine worker of Kogi State government. She promised to come back but they never did. And so he languished on hospital bed at FMC Lokoja, for additional three months after their visit.
And now, he is dead without being given an opportunity to be screened as his parastatal was totally excluded from the screening exercise. Hundreds of his colleagues in the pension board are wallowing in pain and hunger and Kogi State government appears to be watching patiently to see them die one after the other.