NIGERIANS TO THEIR PRESIDENT: Tell us how much you spent abroad on medical treatment


Recently, Nigerians have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to disclose how much he spent abroad on his medical treatment so as to confirm his transparency system of government as he promised to at the inception of his administration. Nigerians believed that after the return of the President on 10th March, 2017 after almost 50 days medical leave abroad, he might have spent a lot of the country’s money.

However, the government had spent almost a week in the country without disclosing his medical bills abroad, some Human Right experts have cited the Freedom of Information Act as a basis, demanding the President to tell Nigerians how much it cost him to treat himself abroad.

Similarly, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP; Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), and the Campaign for Democracy, among others, have mounted pressure on the President to disclose his medical bill in the UK because his administration had promised Nigerians transparency, anti-corruption and change.
However, it was gathered that Buhari might have allegedly spent between £200 and £250 per hour for medical services in the UK.

Also, the Executive Director, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni has said that Nigerians have the right to know how much tax-payers’ money their president spent abroad on medical treatment. He further said“Pursuant to the FOI Act, which was signed into law in 2011, every Nigerian has a right to know from any public office holder any information they think they must have. So, the Presidency should provide categorical answer to the question as Buhari’s medical bill abroad. This is democracy and in democracy, there can be no opaqueness, everything must be clear and open.”

In support with SERAP’s stand, Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr. Debo Adeniran said, “If the money with which the President treated himself abroad did not come from his purse, then he is under obligation to disclose to Nigerians how much he spent from our money on his health care.” He further said, “As the results of the tests he had are out and the treatment has been done, there is no reason why the President should not tell us what was wrong with him and how much was spent on him. I believe that the President will not want to dent his image with this. When his aides said he was hale and hearty, he came back to say that he was indeed very ill. And he has said many things different from what his lieutenants want us to believe.”
He added that,“We want to know how much he has spent except if the money came directly from his pocket. If it was from the purse of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, then he is under obligation to disclose the cost of his treatment to Nigerians.”

Also, President, Campaign for Democracy, Bako Usman, said that the openness of the government will confirm its transparency and that it stands the chance of earning respect from Nigerians. He further said,“So the President should make available the cost of his medical treatment abroad. Someone advocating for a corrupt free society is supposed to be open. This government’s ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign will be appreciated by the citizens if the President is open and transparent”. He also emphasized that Nigerians have the right to know how much the president had spent abroad on his treatment.

The Nigerian Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said “while the President cannot be compelled to disclose the nature of his illness, if public funds are spent (on his health care), Nigerians are entitled to know how much was spent.”

He also said that, “Nigerians should know how much has been spent on the medical expenses incurred by the President in the United Kingdom since according to him; he has had the best of medical treatment.”

In every Democratic country, citizens are entitled to transparency in order to be sure of a corruption free society. As a matter of fact, Nigerians have requested for the disclosure of the bill spent on treatment abroad which the president is yet to respond. Nigerians are worried with their national income spending as the same President spend about N20.5million on ear infection in September 2016. Aside this, the most important disclosure is that president Buhari is back, hale and hearty!

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