The Kogi state government says the attack at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) on Wednesday was by relatives of patients abandoned by the staff of the hospital.
Gunmen had attacked the medical centre in Lokoja, Kogi state capital, and disrupted a COVID-19 press conference.
They also carted away laptops, valuable documents and destroyed some properties at the facility.
But in a statement, Kingsley Fanwo, commissioner of information and communications, said the relatives of the patients only embarked on a protest at the hospital.
“Preliminary findings revealed that the violence ensued when relations of patients in the medical facility protested against the failure of the management of the hospital to attend to them,” Fanwo said.
“Many people in the emergency ward were left unattended to and a mother delivered at the gate of the hospital. That generated a lot of public tension in the state.
“Tension started building since yesterday when patients and their relatives learnt of a plan by the medical staff to stage a protest today, seeking protection from COVID-19.
“We urge the people of the state to remain calm as government will ensure maintenance of law and order.
“We also sue for calm and urge medical authorities to remain committed to their medical profession and responsibilities as Government will protect them in order to give them the confidence to deliver. Healthcare management must never be politicized.
“Also, government will carry out further investigations to ascertain the remote causes of the breach of peace by the protesters and also address their fears.”