Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, has taken on President Muhammadu Buhari, who he accuses of making the nation’s hospitals worse.
Falana made the remarks at the 14th Annual Beko Ransome-Kuti memorial lecture organized by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) on Sunday, February 9, 2020.
Nigeria's hospitals have been derogatorily labelled 'consulting clinics' for decades now.
Falana said it is unfair that Buhari “always travels abroad for medical care while the generality of Nigerians have no other choice but to go to Nigerian hospitals that have become mortuaries.”
He added that, “When this same president, as a military Head of State, came in 1984, December 31, and said our hospitals had been reduced to consulting clinics; it was a confirmation of the struggle of the Nigerian doctors. So, Beko and others thought he meant well and after six months, there was no improvement, they went on strike that paralysed the medical sector.
“Of course, Beko was grabbed, though he was the first Vice-President of the NMA, the regime knew he was the moving force in the NMA. And so, he was detained together with the NMA President then, Dr Akpabio. He was kept in Kirikiri for six months. When the regime became tired, they were released.
“But one thing that is important is this – because we must link events – the man who said hospitals were consulting clinics in 1984 is the president today.Those hospitals have become mortuaries. Hence, he flies abroad for treatment at public expense.
“Currently, I have a case at the Court of Appeal, I lost at the High Court, to compel the government of Nigeria to give medical treatment to everybody because ori o j’ori (all heads were created equal). If you can go abroad for treatment, you must fix our hospitals to international standards, so that every Nigerian can have quality health care.”
President Buhari, 76, has often been criticized for seeking medical care abroad since he was elected for a first term in office in 2015. The Nigerian leader hops on a plane to London regularly for a 'private visit.'