Human rights advocacy group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, yesterday urged the Federal Government to probe what it described as pervasive corruption in the health sector between 1999 and 2014.
Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP’s Executive Director, made the call at the launch of a report entitled:“Health in decline: Human Rights Impacts of Corruption in Nigeria’s Health Sector’’.
Mumuni said:“According to budget allocations from1999 to 2014, the Nigeria health sector received more than N2 trillion.
“These funds, though smaller than expected, had potential to yield substantial outcomes for the sector such that could reduce out-of-pocket spending to the desirable 20 per cent level.
“However, mismanagement and corruption scandals by top officials within the health ministry provide strong explanations for why this was not attained.
“In the same period, the health sector received about $308 million and €138 million as grants to support vaccines, immunisation and polio eradication initiatives.’’
He said majority of the funds were mismanaged and misappropriated by health officials, thus depriving millions of poor Nigerians access to quality healthcare, one of the internationally recognised human rights.
According to Mumuni, some key unresolved cases of corruption in Nigeria’s health sector include the $29
million vaccine grant scam and the N1.9 billion Ebola special intervention fund scandal.
Others are the N5.4 billion Benzly Benzoate procurement scam and the Nigeria Pharmaceutical Institute ghost workers and illegal recruitment scam.
Mumuni noted that unless those who had stolen or misappropriated the monies allocated to the sector are brought to justice, impunity would continue to reign while Nigerians would continue to suffer.
He said: “We want the Federal Government of Nigeria to encourage anti-corruption agencies to proactively
launch and follow through investigations into these credible allegations of corruption in the health sector.
“We want the anti-corruption agencies to promptly and satisfactorily conclude any pending investigation on corruption in the spending of budget allocations and international aids to the Ministry of Health.
“We want foreign governments and donor agencies to insist on transparency and accountability and prosecution of suspected perpetrators of corruption and recovery of stolen public funds as conditions for providing aids and support to the ministry.”
On the National Health Insurance Scheme, the SERAP boss advised the government to “comprehensively review and reform the scheme to remove the risks of corruption so that it could achieve its purposes.
“A nation’s health policy and commitment to ensuring a healthy population defines its development and contributes to its influence among the comity of nations.’’

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