Federal Government inaugurates health boards
• Promises to punish any member for corrupt practices
• Group urges probe of NMA nominees for appointment
The Federal Government yesterday inaugurated the newly-constituted governing boards of parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Health and vowed to punish corrupt practices perpetrated by any board member as well as the management team of these agencies and institutions.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who spoke at the event, said the present government has zero-tolerance for any form of corruption, adding that this stance must not be compromised.
Adewole noted the boards have the primary responsibility to perform, which involves calming down frayed nerves, resolving industrial disharmony and ensuring an end to incessant strikes by trade unions in the health sector.
The minister, who told the board members to allow agencies and hospitals perform the day-to-day running of these organisations without hindrance, said that a significant number of cases of professional misconduct are pending against some health professionals and urged the boards to ensure they are dispensed with expeditiously to ensure public confidence in the health sector.
However, a Benin-based group, the Vanguard Anti-Corruption Watch, has alleged that one of the nominees and four others to the boards of Federal Teaching Hospitals and Medical Centres by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) are currently being prosecuted for corruption charges by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a Benin City High Court.
The group, which called for urgent investigation of the nominees, also alleged that multiple lists were submitted by the national executive of the NMA for the ongoing appointment process at the Federal Ministry of Health.
In a statement signed by its Secretary, Valentine Osayuki yesterday, the group wondered why a government that prides itself for its zero-tolerance for corruption, will accept a person undergoing corruption prosecution for appointment into a federal medical board.
“One wonders if the NMA has lost its sense of morality and modesty in spite of the huge confidence reposed on it by the public. It is the last expectation to have such a character nominated to a board of that repute.
“One is left to wonder if the same Federal Government under the incorruptible Muhammadu Buhari will in one breadth (through her agency) indict someone for corruption and in another breadth, appoint the same person to undertake such a sensitive responsibility? The paradox is simply irreconcilable,” the statement said.
The group, therefore, called on President Buhari, the minister of health and all those concerned, to urgently investigate the names on the list to avoid giving the impression that the government is rewarding corruption.