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Investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo exposes state of Nigeria’s oldest psychiatric hospital

A Nigerian investigative journalist Fisayo Soyombo has exposed the corruption and decrepit state of the country’s oldest psychiatric hospital, Yaba Nero-Psychiatric Hospital.

Nigerian investigative journalist Fisayo Soyombo who has been at the fore of exposing many of the inadequacies happening in the country, has again released another article detailing his experience at the Yaba Nero-Psychiatric Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria.

In October, Soyombo went undercover to expose bribery, bail for sale and the recycling of criminals in a Lagos police station. He also exposed the corruption in Nigerian prisons and how justice is perverted. The investigative journalist spent two weeks in detention.

At the Yaba Nero-Psychiatric Hospital where Soyombo spent 10 days on admission as a patient, he said on Twitter, “My discoveries were disturbing. They include decrepit state of hospital facilities, gross shortage of critical staff despite a bloated workforce widely believed to be populated by ghost workers, low quality of service delivery, arbitrary charges on patients.”

Investigative journalism in Nigeria has led to a critical look into the public sector in the country, and how public workers mostly behave. Kiki Mordi’s investigative piece on randy lecturers in Nigerian universities led to a national discussion on sexual harassment by lecturers. Unlike Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw who seeks to name, shame and jail corrupt public servants, Nigerian investigative journalists are not naming, shaming or jailing.

Read: Mental health in the age of “woke” and “savage” social media

A mentally ill patient shackled to an engine block at the Olaiya Naturalist Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria. Photo: Rowan Moore Gerety

Read: World Mental Health Awareness Day 2017

Nigeria’s oldest psychiatric hospital is a 535 bedded hospital, which is filled to capacity. Unfortunately, the hospital lacks enough doctors to handle the workload. More unfortunate is the lack of adequate funding. According to a report by Al Jazeera, in 2018, 3.95 percent of the budget was allocated to the Ministry of Health. The 2020 budget saw an marginal increase to 4.3 percent.

With many doctors leaving Nigeria to the United Kingdom and other nations, the country continues to lose its best brains. Soyombo’s undercover report will hopefully bring change to one of Nigeria’s oldest institutions, which has gone on to be a haven for corruption.

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