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Senate panel asks Buhari to stop traveling abroad for medical trips

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The Senate committee on federal character and intergovernmental affairs has asked State House officials to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from traveling on medical trips abroad.

Danjuma Laah, the senator representing Kaduna south and the panel chairman, stated this on Thursday when Tijjani Umar, the permanent of the State House came before it to defend its budget for 2021 budget.

In his defence, Umar told the panel that N19 billion was budgeted for the State House in 2021 out of which N1.3 billion was proposed for the State House clinic.

While addressing newsmen shortly after the budget defence session, Laah said that the amount budgeted for the State House clinic in the 2021 budget has been approved so that the president and his officials will stop traveling abroad for medical treatments.

He added that the president is not a man that should be taken outside the country frequently for medical treatments.

“Our president is not a man to be taken out anytime or anything that happens to him on matters of sickness matter.

“He must attend our clinic here and we must make sure that we equip our hospital to the best of our ability so that any emergency will be first taken care here before flying him out of  the need arises.

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“It is already approved N1.3 billion for state house clinic. I want this thing done and I want the credit to go to the whole committee – leave a legacy for the State House, that the clinic we requested was done within the shortest time.”

Also, Umar told journalists that 1.3 billion naira proposed to fix the presidential arm of the State House clinic is not enough compared to what is obtained in other parts of the world and the number of principal officers it is going to serve.

He denied claims that the Aso Rock clinic is in a “comatose” state.

“It is not correct to say the State House clinic is in comatose, it is not. We have realigned some many things and one of the fundamental challenges we have dealt with is the sustainable supply of drugs and consumables. Don’t forget that this is derived from the budget,” the permanent secretary said.

“We have appealed to the committee to assist us with the presidential wing of the State House clinic.

“The N1.3 billion is absolutely inadequate when you juxtapose the amount proposed and the labour – the status of the principals that that project is going to serve, and you compare with worldwide standards you see that it is not anything near what we need.”

In 2017, President Buhari spent over 150 days in the United Kingdom, treating an undisclosed ailment. He returned back to the country amidst speculations that he had passed away. The president has since then visited the UK several times for medical trips.

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Vincent Ufuoma is a reporter with The ICIR. He is a lover of God, truth, knowledge and justice.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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