“Corruption in the health sector exacerbates inequality in already unequal and unfair political, social, and economic environments, and produces a ‘cash and carry’ health care system based on one’s ability to pay for care or one’s political position”
The failure by President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the missing or theft of N3.8 billion meant for the Federal Ministry of Health has drawn the ire of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
To this end, SERAP has taken the president to court over his silence on the matter.
The recently released 2018 audited report by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation had raised an alarm over the money meant for teaching hospitals, medical centres, and National Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
SERAP’s suit followed controversy and criticisms trailing Buhari’s travel to London for a “routine medical check-up.”
Persecondnews reports that Buhari’s medical vacation also coincided with strike by resident doctors over welfare issues, leaving millions of poor Nigerians without access to medical service, several deaths being recorded in the health facilities across the country.
SERAP is seeking an order of mandamus directing and compelling President Buhari to investigate alleged missing N3.8bn health funds.
It wants the court to also compel Buhari to investigate the extent and patterns of widespread corruption in the Federal Ministry of Health, teaching hospitals, medical centres and NAFDAC.
“Corruption in the health sector exacerbates inequality in already unequal and unfair political, social, and economic environments, and produces a ‘cash and carry’ health care system based on one’s ability to pay for care or one’s political position.
“Transparency and accountability in the management of health funds is essential for promoting access of people living in poverty to physical and mental healthcare, satisfactory health conditions, equality and non-discrimination, development, as well as good governance and the rule of law,” it stated in the suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/433/2021 filed at a Federal High Court, Abuja.
Joined as respondents are Mr Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation and Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health.
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
According to SERAP, failure to investigate the alleged missing health funds, bring suspected perpetrators to justice, and to recover any missing public funds has exposed millions of poor Nigerians to serious health risks, violating their constitutional and international human rights.
It states:”The fight against corruption in the health sector is vital for the effective enjoyment of the right to health by socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians which in turn is essential to all aspects of a person’s life and well-being, and to the realisation of all the other fundamental human rights.”