The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court over his failure to investigate the N3,836,685,213.13 allegedly missing in the health sector.
Naija News reports that the group also joined the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire as respondents in the suit.
According to SERAP, the missing funds are meant for the Federal Ministry of Health, teaching hospitals, medical centres, and National Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers, Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The group is seeking: “an order of mandamus directing and compelling President Buhari to investigate alleged missing N3.8 billion health funds, and to promptly investigate the extent and patterns of widespread corruption in the Federal Ministry of Health, teaching hospitals, medical centres and NAFDAC.”
The suit read in part, “Corruption in the health sector exacerbates inequality in already unequal and unfair political, social, and economic environments, and produces a ‘cash and carry’ health care system based on one’s ability to pay for care or one’s political position.
“Corruption in the health sector forces socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians to seek health services and treatment in unsafe and unregulated environments, leaving them susceptible to avoidable injuries and death.
“Poor Nigerians are not enjoying the right to health maximally because the Nigerian government is failing to address systemic corruption in the health sector, thereby rendering the authorities incapable of providing the basic amenities, infrastructure and resources that facilitate the full enjoyment of the right to health.
“A corrupt and dysfunctional health care system can hardly fulfil the physical and health needs of citizens. Such a system denies people access to the highest attainable standard of health care and simultaneously undermines their ability to pursue personal development and prosperity.
“The Nigerian government has the legal obligations to take the necessary measures to protect the health of the Nigerian people and to ensure that they receive medical attention when they are sick.”
“This means taking prompt measures to investigate the alleged missing health funds, to ensure that health systems can deliver quality health care and services in an equal and non-discriminatory manner.
“The failure to promptly investigate the alleged missing health funds, bring suspected perpetrators to justice and to recover any missing public funds has continued to have serious implications on the ability of the government, particularly the health ministry and agencies under its control to meet the health needs of socially and economically vulnerable Nigerians.
“By the combined reading of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended], the Public Procurement Act, and the country’s obligations including under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, President Buhari and his government have legal duties to promptly probe allegations of corruption in the spending of health funds, and to ensure access of poor Nigerians to quality healthcare.”