Nigerians Differ On Buhari’s Medical Trip | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Nigerians Differ On Buhari’s Medical Trip

Posted: Jun 12, 2016 at 3:13 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


After several rumours of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ear infection, the number one citizen of Nigeria finally left the country last Monday to seek a medical attention outside the shores of the country. According to Femi Adesina, special adviser to President Buhari on media and strategy, he would travel to London for a rest and that would afford him the opportunity to see Ear, Nose and Throats (ENT) doctors before returning to the country. He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari will take 10 days off and travel to London on Monday June 6th to rest. During the holiday, he will see an E.N.T. specialist for a persistent ear infection.

However, the action of the president attracted mixed reactions from Nigerians. Those who did not support the action of seeking medical assistance abroad argued that the decision may have a negative effect on the government’s ongoing campaign for patronage of locally manufactured goods and services in the country, but others reasoned differently. For instance, Prof. Itse Sagay, a constitutional lawyer said the action of Mr. President contradicts his policy of discouraging Nigerians from seeking medical treatment abroad.

He said, “The action is not in order, judging by his policy of discouraging Nigerians from travelling abroad for medical treatment”.

Sagay stressed that President Buhari would have remained in the country instead of taking the advice of some experts who advised him to go out of the country. The trip according to Sagay has exposed the state of medical facilities in the country and urged the government to do everything possible to upgrade medical facilities in the country’s health institutions.

Also   Comrade Ayodele Akele, National Secretary of the National Conscience Party (NCP) and Vice President, Commonwealth Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, have expressed disappointment at the trip which they described as medical tourism. They argued that the president should have shown leadership by example by getting treatment at home, instead of embarking on a treatment abroad, which would have a negative impact on the country’s quest for foreign investments.

Similarly, Akin Akinbobola, Special Adviser to Ondo State Governor on Political and Mobilisation Matters, berated President Buhari over his decision to visit London for ear infection treatment, stressing that Ondo State has all the required medical facilities to treat him.

The decision of President Buhari to travel abroad for treatment according to Akinbobola has negative implications on the Nigerian economy.

He said, “Nigeria is in a period when the talk for diversifying the economy is high, we’re also talking about patronage to made-in-Nigeria goods and services. It is very unfortunate that our president and his party are treating and portraying our own services and goods as substandard, and available just for the less privileged only.

“Good and very up-to date facilities abound in Nigeria that can handle such an ailment. Ondo State today is proud to have state-of-the-art tertiary medical institutions, it’s worthy of note to mention that the medical village in Ondo gets referrals from abroad.

“Mr. President could have used Ondo State medical facilities for treatment. Except he is biased about Ondo State being a PDP state. However, I think, issues bothering on health treatment are just too sensitive and should not be premised on political partisanship”, he noted

“One wonders what exactly the job of the Minister of Health is? He is supposed to have records of facilities and medical professionals we have across this country. President is expected at this period when the nation is suffering from serious foreign exchange deficit to play a leadership model by patronizing Nigerian goods and services, especially where we have internationally competitive and reputable services in health provision”, he added.

However, Tony Momoh, a former Minister of Information, has faulted those critcising President Buhari over his 10-day trip abroad to treat an ear infection.

Speaking in an interview, Momoh, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), said the president was not going abroad to rest and not to be admitted in any hospital.

According to him, the president has been receiving treatment locally but his doctors advised him to maximise the holiday by seeking further medical assistance.

Momoh said President Buhari has fulfilled constitutional requirements by writing to the National Assembly and handing over to the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo.

“What will anybody gain by saying that the president should show good example by getting treatment at home? The president said he has been receiving treatment locally and that he is going on holiday. He said he is not going to hospital abroad but he is going to rest. Is that not what he said?.

“People should learn to comment on facts and not on opinions. Facts were supplied. He is going to rest for 10 days. He has written to the National Assembly. He has handed over to the Vice- President. Nigerians saw him on television walking to the plane, waving to everybody because he is going on holiday.

“He didn’t say he’s going to hospital. Anybody who is sick obviously will be rushed abroad in an ambulance.

“What is wrong with some people? They said he should have looked for people locally to treat him. He has a specialist doctor. They have been attending to him here. Now that he is going abroad to rest, the doctors advised him to seek further medical assistance. Is it because he (Buhari) informed Nigerians? He may have decided to go and nobody will know anything. I think we are carrying democracy too far”, he said.

Though the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) believes the country has enough ENT experts to treat President Buhari’s ear infection it stated that it had no official detail from Aso Rock physician on the matter, which would have informed its official statement on the issue.  According to a statement from Tanko Sununu, secretary general, NMA, “Up till now we haven’t gotten the details from the president’s physician.

Officially at the moment, we cannot comment on whether the president’s trip was right or wrong based on the fact that we don’t know the extent of the condition. We are made to understand that they had conversations with Nigeria’s ENT surgeons along with his personal physician. So, I don’t know if it is the assessment of the ENT surgeon that warranted him going out for further evaluation and treatment”.