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NIGERIA: Forum against Establishment of Surgeon General’s Office

 Delegates to the National Conference yesterday presented a motion seeking to reject the call for the establishment of the office of the Surgeon General of the Federation.

About 37 delegates in a 10-paragraphs motion, which was distributed to the delegates at the conference yesterday, called for the rejection of the suggestion by the Health Sub-committee of the Social Sector, which recommended the establishment of the office.

Some of the 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.
Observing that the office of the Surgeon-General is alien to most health systems apart from those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the motion movers further argued that the office was restricted to the armed forces.

They also added that the establishment of the office would amount to further bureaucratisation of the structures of the health system without adding any value since they said that the minister of health is already serving as the chief medical adviser of the Presidency and indeed the federation.

They added that 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 grounds that it would deepen and exacerbate the acrimonious and chaotic situation that already exist in the health sector.
It was also said that heeding the demand of the interested parties for the creation of the office would further deepen inter-cadre acrimony and disrupt industrial peace and harmony in the health sector with serious consequences.

 As a result, the signatories to the motion asked the conference not to entertain the proposal for the establishment of the office of the Surgeon-General of the Federation.

Worried by what delegates described as an affront, the National Conference yesterday appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to wade into an alleged invasion of some villages in Cross River State by Camerounian officials attached to the Nigerian/Cameroon Mixed-commission and others suspected to be officials of the United Nations.
The delegates also faulted the action of the officials and lamented that several years after the judgment of the International Court of Justice, which ceded some Nigerian territories on the Bakassi peninsular to Cameroun, the Nigerian government has not taken any step to claim the villages ceded to nation.

The concern was expressed following a motion of urgent public importance introduced by a delegate, Orok Otu Duke, who raised the alarm to draw the attention of the conference to the alleged illegal confiscation of Nigerian villages located on the country's border with Cameroun in violation of the Green Tree Agreement (GTA), which prescribed the mode of demarcation.

Duke, had during his submission on the floor, expressed worry that if something was not done to urgently address the matter, the country could loose more villages to Cameroun against the consent of the people. Or worse still, the communities would be compelled to stop the invasion.

"As I speak, some demarcation exercise is going on and beacons are being planted on Nigerian villages by officials of the Mixed-commission, in company of some officials suspected to be from the United Nations, but without the presence of any Nigerian official," he said.

Specifically, Nigeria and Cameroun have disputed the possession of Bakassi for some years, leading to considerable tension between the two countries. In 1981 both countries went to the brink of war over Bakassi and another area around Lake Chad, at the other end of the two countries' common border.

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