Duke to Ayade, Please Stop further demolition of St. Margaret Hospital

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of  Efik Leadership Foundation, Mr. Richard Duke has called on Cross River State Governor, Senator Ben Ayade to stop the further demolition of the historic St. Margaret Hospital hospital located in Calabar, the state capital city.

Duke in a statement said that although he believes in the modernization of Calabar, but the Governor seriously need to have a rethink concerning the demolition of the over 120 years old hospital because of its historical significance.

Read the statement in full:
''Ayade: Please stop the further demolition of the historical St Margaret's Hospital structures. 

Before the government bulldozers complete the total demolition of the historical building site of the erstwhile 120 year old St Margaret's Hospital in Calabar we ask the Governor to hold off further demolition and have a re-think.

I believe in the modernization of Calabar, I also believe in the regeneration of Calabar but not to the detriment of demolishing ancient landmarks which have historical significance. St Margaret's Hospital Calabar is one of those ancient landmarks you dare not tamper with. 

The land for the St Margaret's Hospital was donated by the Duke Town community in 1897 in order to support the vision of providing healthcare for pre-colonial Nigeria. For over 100 years St Margaret's Hospital fulfilled that purpose. 120 years afterwards the vision is being buried. The site is not even being given back to the State Ministry of Health to continue the healthcare legacy there. 

There is a problem. Our reaction to this is that there is a genuine concern that the historic architecture of Old Calabar is gradually being demolished and there is need to preserve our monuments.

If we want to continue be a centre of tourism excellence then we need to learn how to preserve our history.

The demolition of parts of St Margaret's Hospital which was built in 1897 is an attack on its 120 years of history. Though the land belongs to the state government there needs to be meaningful consultation with the public, stakeholders in Duke Town ( the original land owners), the State Ministry of Health and Calabar South about the demolition plans due to the historic significance of the Hospital location.

Therefore, we call upon Ayade to stop further demolition work and list the remnants of the St Margaret's Hospital as a historical monument/heritage site via a government gazette including other similar sites in Calabar. This would serve as a prelude towards applying to the National Museum and Monuments Commission.

If St Margaret's Hospital had been added to the recent list of protected heritage sites during the last application round in 2014; the state government would have been in breach of the National Museum and Monuments Commission Act with this gung-ho demolition attitude.

There are currently just 165 designated national monuments recognized by the NMMC and State Governments have the duty to identify and recommend "cultural properties" as monuments. For the avoidance of doubt, the current listed monuments in Calabar are: Architectural Monument 1) Presbyterian Church Creek Town. Historical Monuments 2) Premier Building of Hope Waddell Training Institution 3) European Cemetery (Udi Mbakara) 4) Mary Slessors Residence. 5) Old Residency Museum Therefore, we in the Efik Leadership Foundation are making the case for the inclusion of the following as listed historical monuments which should be preserved and protected. •Hope Waddell Chapel •Duke Town Presbyterian Church •The 2 prefabricated storey buildings (including King Eyo Honesty's house) in Creek Town. •A couple of prefabricated buildings in Duke Town (Ansa Street, Boco Street, etc) •St Margaret's Hospital There are also concerns about the future purpose of the land as we were made to believe that the site would revert back to the State Ministry of Health after the departure of UCTH to its present location. 

By Richard Duke Chairman Board of Trustees Efik Leadership Foundation (NGO)''
Politics 135627940230437637

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