…causion Nigerians over looted expired drugs in Kaduna
By Gift Chapi Odekia
The House of representatives committee on Healthcare Services, Rep Yusuf Tanko Sununu, on Teusday rejected budget presentations by 4 different agencies and declined approval for their 2021 budget proposals, saying that they were poorly prepared.
This was as the committee engaged heads of various agencies under the committee during the 2020/2021 budget defence exercise in Abuja.
The agencies sent back to rearrange their documents and return the committee are: the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Blood Transfusion Services (NBTS), the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN), as well the Inter-country Centre for Oral Health in Africa.
The only agency who got the approval without a query, was the Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board of Nigeria (ODORBN).
One of the agencies bashed for its poor preparation of budget was the IPAN, who seeks to acquire a headquarter building in Abuja, but only proposed a little above one million naira in the budget.
The committee deputy chairman, Rep.Samuel Adejare who presided over the meeting , particularly took offence with the proposal, saying that the Institute has only succeeded in ridiculing Nigeria as a country.
The chairman of the commitee Rep Tanko Sununu who later joined the meeting further told the head of the institution, Aliyu Angara that budget is a constitutional matter that should be taken very seriously, adding that what he had presented was “laughable and unacceptable to propose just N1 million for the construction of a headquarter building in Abuja”.
“It is an act meant to ridicule Nigeria as a country”, the chairman said, adding that “the international community is watching every move Nigeria makes”.
Asked how many members the Institute has, the DG said 1000, and that they charge N10,000 for registration.
Members also expressed displeasure in the manner in which government handles the Centre for Oral health, saying that the habit of leaving funding for important institutions in the country to foreign donors is appalling.
Deputy chairman who presided before the chairman’s arrival said “if Nigeria cannot make adequate financial inputs to make the centre functional, we should relinquish it to another country”.
He said its only responsible for government to honour every agreement it has signed as a serious country, particularly as it relates to institutions cited here basically on the understanding that there will be counterpart funding from government.
The response followed submission by the DG, Sani Balarabe, that the centre is hampered by lack of funding, disclosing international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), and foreign countries have promised donations.
The Centre located in Jos, Plateau State has performed below expectations due to the volatility of the area, prompting the DG to propose the establishment of a liaison office in Abuja.
Committee upon listening to the DGs responses resolved to pay an oversight visit for assessment before considering its 2021 budget. The ruling also applies to 3 others who proposals were rejected.
Speaking further on the recent looting of expired drugs, the committee called on Nigerians to be wary of the kind of drugs they purchase and consume this critical period, following the looting of a warehouse belonging to the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), in Kaduna state, where siezed fake and expired drugs were said to have been stored and awaiting destruction.
He urged members of the committee, as well as Nigerians in general to be watchful and careful with the kind of drugs they purchase following the looting of NAFDAC warehouse in kaduna by criminals who carted away fake or expired drugs which were designated for destruction.
According to Rep. Sununu, the drugs stolen from the facility in Kaduna were impounded or siezed by the agency who was waiting for clearance and approvals from the relevant authority to destroy same.