Published On: Mon, Oct 16th, 2017

INVESTIGATION: Why Aso Rock Clinic, Nigeria’s First Families’ Hospital Is Failing

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…Perm Sec. Says Only N969.6Miliion Received In 3yrs, not N11.01Bllion

By Sadiq Umar – Fresh facts emerging from the State House Abuja indicates that systemic corruption and maladministration are responsible for the parlous state of medical facilities at Nigeria’s seat of power.

But the Permanent Secretary in the State House, Jalal Aribi said on Sunday that the State House Medical Centre received only N969.6 million from capital votes and not N11.01billion as appropriation for the period 2015-2017.

The latest revelation is coming on the heels of the call for probe of the State House Clinic by the Nigerian First Lady, Aisha Buhari who lamented the rot in the hospital built to provide medical care for the nation’s first families, those of the Vice President and top government functionaries.

Mrs. Buhari while speaking at the opening of a two-day stakeholders meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition organised by her pet project, Future Assured in Abuja, had said the ongoing renovations at the clinic was baseless because the hospital lacked the equipment to save lives despite the huge budgetary allocations.

She condemned the lack of some necessary hospital facilities such as syringe, drugs and equipment needed for saving lives. She lamented that she wanted to do an x-ray at the clinic few weeks ago but was told the X-ray machine was not functional.

The X-ray machine, News Investigators’ finding reveals broke down in January 2017 and left without repair for 9months until recently when a query was issued by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.

Inside sources at the State House are pointing accusing fingers at the Permanent Secretary of State House, Jalal Aribi, who is being accused of frustrating efforts of Chief Medical Director, H.Y. Munir to revitalize the hospital.

Dr. Munir himself recently expressed this frustration in a letter dated October 3, 2017, addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Kyari. He said there is persistent out of stock syndrome bedeviling the State House Hospital, lamenting that drug purchases this year were carried out as “stop gap purchases.”

“In August 2017, we submitted the 3rd quarter request for drugs and consumables and so far, no response has been received to our request till date.”

The Medical Director blamed Mr. Aribi, inadequate funding to the medical centre and poor access to funds for the woes of the SHMC.

Our checks reveal that in the 2017 budget alone, a sum of N290.4million was approved for drugs and consumables. So far, N14.7million and N15million have been spent on drugs and consumables respectively.

Wife of the President lamented appalling situation of Clinic

But according to the CMD, “The National Health Insurance Scheme (NIHS) funds which are patients’ contributions that come in monthly is meant to cover areas such as procurement of drugs and hospital consumables. Unfortunately, the Hospital has no access to these funds and is therefore deprived of extra funds that would have gone a long way to augment our budgetary allocations.

Referring to previous efforts he took to savage the hospital, Dr. Munir wrote: “You may recall my earlier submissions dated 13th November, 2015 to the Chief of Staff; 18th April, 2016 to the Permanent Secretary, SH and 22nd August, 2016 to His Excellency, C-in-C respectively labelled appendices H, I and J, highlighting the numerous challenges being faced by the SHMC. My submissions were meant to bring to the fore the problems which l inherited from the previous administration and appropriate recommendations to improve the quality of care in the SHMC.

“The X-ray machine has not been functioning for over 9 months. Submission for repairs of the machine was made by representatives of Phillips Company in April 2017. Approval for the repairs was granted on the 28th August 2017 and is currently on-going,” Munir wrote.….

“After the outburst by the wife of the president more revelations are coming out, in actual fact a lot of people will be surprised to know that perpetrator behind the scandal is not the CMD but the permanent secretary State House Jalal Aribi, who must be feared by all,” Inside sources told News Investigators on Friday

Staff members in the State House who craved anonymity said they are fed up with “his antics and a serious of charges have been levelled against him by the public servants he Lords it over”

The aggrieved officials claimed that salaries of internship doctors are collected and put In fixed deposit for his own private benefit. They further alleged that only N4 million was actually spent on drugs this year out of the huge budgetary provisions made to the Hospital. The sources said the X-ray machine was repaired at a cost of N4m, only after CMD was queried, revealing further that N21m deducted for NHIS was so far but no staff have access to the scheme

Allegations against Mr. Alibi also include huge debts to travel agents that are providing services travel and tour services for the State House. Some of the agents that are owed large amounts of money are already grounding their businesses due to insolvency. “Since he was not allowed to purchase new cars he sabotaged the cars on ground, The President, Vice President and their wives have all had their cars break down embarrassingly while in convoys,” the sources added.

Investigations further reveal that both the wives of the President and Vice president fuel their cars from their pockets for official assignments “as Jalal refuses to release funds for this. A bus costing N27m was purchased for N85m, as soon as the story was leaked the whistleblowers were transferred from admin, it was the intervention of Mr President that granted them access to be brought back.”

News Investigators efforts to speak to Mr. Aribi did not yield positive results.

Meanwhile, Mr. Arabi, said on Sunday that State House Medical Centre had received ta sum of N969.6million as capital and not N11.01billion as appropriation for the period 2015-2017.

The Permanent Secretary, in a statement by, Attah Esa, a Deputy Director (Information) said contrary to the claims, “out of the total Capital Appropriation of N2,941,062,044.00 and Recurrent Appropriation of N465,935,358.00 for the period under reference, only the sum of N969,681,821.53 (representing 32.97%) for Capital and N225,575,200.60 (representing 48.41%) for Recurrent was actually released.

The statement titled STATE HOUSE MEDICAL CENTRE RECEIVED ONLY 33% CAPITAL ALLOCATION, read:

The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to recent media reports suggesting that the State House Medical Centre had received N11.01billion as appropriation for the period 2015-2017.

According to the Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal A. Arabi, contrary to the above claims, out of the total Capital Appropriation of N2,941,062,044.00 and Recurrent Appropriation of N465,935,358.00 for the period under reference, only the sum of N969,681,821.53 (representing 32.97%) for Capital and N225,575,200.60 (representing 48.41%) for Recurrent was actually released.

Arabi also said it may interest the public to know that there was zero capital allocation for the Medical Centre in 2017, while out of the N331,730,211.00 being recurrent appropriation for 2017, the actual amount released up to September was N91,370,053.60 (representing only 27.54%).

The Permanent Secretary emphasised that the above figures are verifiable from the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

He observed that during the three-year period under review (indeed two years since no capital allocation for 2017), and despite the shortfalls between budgetary provisions and actual releases, the Medical Centre continued to provide free services to the over 10,000 registered patients annually. In addition, the Centre has continued to execute on-going projects.

Giving further insight into the scope of the Medical Centre’s clientele, Arabi stressed that apart from the Presidency, other beneficiaries of the free services include political appointees, the military, para-military, other security agencies, members of the National Assembly, and the general public.

In the words of the Permanent Secretary, “Considering the unrestricted patronage base and free services of the State House Medical Centre, coupled with the funding hiccups and periodic receipts, it may not be far-fetched to notice gaps between demand and supply of medical equipment and consumables at certain stages of the budget circle.”

ATTAH ESA

Deputy Director (Information)

October 15, 2017

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