President Muhammadu Buhari recently returned to the country after about 51 days medical vacation to United Kingdom, during which speculations was rife on what was ailing him. Nigerians was happy to welcome back their president.
The recent medical vacation was on the heels of the one earlier, when he reportedly went for ear infection treatment. That ear infection treatment allegedly cost the tax payers about 6 million pounds, but the presidency later clarified that what was spent was “only N20million.”
However since the president’s return from his latest medical vacation, Nigerians are waiting to hear how much was spent for his 51 days medical vacation, but mum has been the word from the presidency. Now there are calls for the Presidency to reveal how much that was spent amidst speculations that he was charged between 200 pounds and 250
pounds per hour for medical services in UK.
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 rode to power on the pedestal of transparency, anti-corruption promise and change. This is sequel to speculations that Buhari might have allegedly spent between £200 and £250 per hour for medical services in the UK.
However, Executive Director, SERAP, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni has said that Nigerians have the right to know how much tax-payer’s money their president spent abroad on medical treatment. “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 a democracy and in democracy, there can be no opaqueness, everything must be clear and open.”
Lending credence to 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.”
We support the call for the president to disclose his medical bills.
As a government that is anchored on transparency and anti-corruption, it smacks of hypocrisy for the government to be prosecuting others for corruption when it cannot disclose how much of tax payers’ money he used to treat himself in UK. This is the time to show that the anti-corruption campaign of the federal government is not a ruse!