18 June 2014

Nigeria: NLC, TUC Move Against Creation of Surgeon-General's Office

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and other individuals have submitted a motion to the National Conference, asking it to reject the call for the establishment of the office of the Surgeon-General of the Federation.

The 10-paragraphs motion, which was distributed to delegates at the conference on Wednesday, called for the rejection of the suggestion by the Health Sub-Committee of the Social Sector, which recommended the establishment of the office.

Signatories to the motion included the President of the NLC, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar; TUC President, Boboi Kaigama; Deputy President of the NLC, Mr. Issa Aremu; and a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mr. Paul Enebeli, among others.

The signatories to the motion said those who supported the creation of the office were those who actually appeared before the committee.

They added that it was because of this selfish interest that forced the conference to make "a wrong design that would project a self-interest against the democratically solved position on the matter."

Observing that the office of the Surveyor-General is alien to most health systems apart from those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the motion movers argued further that the office was restricted to the armed forces and that the office was not held by medical doctors to the exclusion of others.

They added that the establishment of the office would amount to further bureaucratisation of the structures of the health system without adding any value.

They noted that the minister of health was already serving as the chief medical adviser to the Presidency and indeed the Federation.

They added that with the ongoing reform in the lubricant service, with a focus on streamlining functions and reducing cost of governance to achieve a maximum service delivery, the creation of the office would be a costly aberration.

The motion movers also told the delegates that a bill with the intent to establish the office was presented to the six National Assembly but was thrown out on the grounds that it would deepen and exacerbate the acrimonious and chaotic situation that already existed in the health sector.

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