By Abiemwense Moru
The House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on Healthcare Services to investigate the deplorable condition of the State House Clinic and alleged deductions from the salaries and allowances of its medical staff.
The resolution was sequel to a motion by Rep. Henry Archibong (Akwa Ibom-PDP) during plenary on Thursday.
Moving the motion, Archibong said that the clinic had, over the years, been receiving annual budgetary allocations to procure equipment that will enable it to function optimally.
He said in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Appropriation Acts, the clinic was allocated the sums of N3.94 billion, N3.87 billion and N3.2 billion, respectively, for upgrading and provision of necessary drugs and equipment.
“In spite of those huge budgetary allocations, the clinic lacks necessary facilities such as syringes, drugs and equipment needed for saving lives,’’ he said.
Archibong said that medical doctors working at the clinic had expressed concern over alleged illegal deductions from their salaries and allowances by the management since April 2017 without any official communication for the action.
“I am aware that the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, complained publicly during a stakeholders’ meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Nutrition, Child Advocacy and Health and Nutrition (RMNCAHN) at the State House of her inability to access health care needs at the clinic when she took ill recently, but was rather advised by the health providers to fly out of country for treatment.
“I acknowledge that her refusal to heed the advice of the health providers and insisting on obtaining medical care in Nigeria saved the country millions of dollars in foreign exchange and was also an act of patriotism and selflessness worthy of commendation,” he said.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
The Committee on Healthcare Services is expected to report its findings within three weeks for further legislative action.
The State House Clinic was established to take care of the health needs of the President, the Vice-President, their family members as well as members of staff of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.