The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, on Thursday, November 5, 2020, asked State House officials to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from embarking on foreign trips for medical treatment and put the State House clinic in order and equip it.
They asked that the officials ensure it is functional so that the President would have no need to travel abroad for medical tourism.
This remark was made by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator Danjuma La’ah, when the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Mr. Tijani Umar, appeared before the committee to defend his 2021 budget estimates.
The State House official at the appearance before the committee, presented a budget of N19.7 billion for 2021, out of which N1.3 billion was proposed for the State House Clinic.
In his comment, Senator La’ah said the committee would approve the budget for the State House Clinic but insisted that the President and other top officials of his government should no longer be flown abroad for medical treatment.
In his chat with newsmen after defending his budget, the Permanent Secretary promised to put necessary arrangements in place to meet the medical needs of the President and other top officials once the budget is approved.
What you should know
President Buhari has drawn a lot of criticisms from Nigerians and various stakeholders over his incessant medical trips abroad and the poor state of the health facilities in the country despite his promise to end medical tourism amongst public officers before his election in 2015. His first term in office was punctuated by several medical trips to the United Kingdom.
Between 2017 and 2018, he traveled abroad at least thrice for medical reasons and in fact, one of the trips lasted for over 100 days.
The President in 2019, lamented that Nigeria loses too much to medical tourism, urging stakeholders to come up with a solution.