Coalition: President Buhari’s medical trip a violation of health act

The Alliance for the Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical trip to the UK as a violation of the National Health Act.

The Alliance for the Survival of COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s medical trip to the UK as a violation of the National Health Act.

In a statement issued yesterday by the Chairman of the group and human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), ASCAB added that Buhari’s constant visits to the UK for health check depicts the terrible state of Nigerian medicare.

The labour and civil society coalition group said it was contradictory for the President to go abroad for medicare when as billions of naira were allocated to the health sector every year apart from the huge amount of money credited to the Presidential Clinic in Aso Rock.

“The President of Nigeria visiting the United Kingdom, for healthcare 60 years after independence is a shame. It confirms that Nigeria cannot guarantee the health of her President even with the country can boast of a rainbow of experts and Teaching Hospitals that have been left to rot away,” Falana explained.

The group wondered what could happen to the ordinary people if the country could not secure the well-being of her President.

ASCAB said President Buhari’s action violated the constitution of the country.

The group regretted that millions of Nigerians have no access to basic healthcare while primary health provision has almost been abandoned across the country leaving millions in despair.

ASCAB traced the tragic weekend deaths of two prominent human rights activists, Mr. Yinka Odumakin and Innocent Chukwuma to the parlous state of Nigerian healthcare, saying that the two, like millions of Nigerian in rural and urban areas would have lived if the country’s leaders had funded and equipped hospitals for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

“The total neglect of public healthcare in Nigerian has seen millions of people lose their lives from preventable deaths. While many people die in millions every year, armed and defenseless people, rich and poor suffer from the tragic neglect of Nigerian health sector by the Federal and State Governments.”

The latest known victims are Yinka and Innocent, two people that were reputed for immense sacrifices in the pro-democracy campaigns but have to die due to Governments poor funding of the health sector and corruption at all levels,” ASCAB said.

ASCAB said Buhari had consistently breached the law as his medical treatment and check up in the United Kingdom were not recommended by a Medical Board approved by the Minister of Health in line with Section 46 of the National Health Act.

He quoted the section as stating that: “Without prejudice to the right of any Nigerian to seek medical check-up, investigation or treatment anywhere within and outside Nigeria no public officer of the government of the Federation or any part thereof shall be sponsored for medical check-up, investigation or treatment abroad at public expense except in exceptional cases on the recommendation and referral by the medical board and which recommendation or referral shall be duly approved by the Minister or the Commissioner of health of the state as the case may be.”

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.