Treating minor ailments abroad shameful – Jega
A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral
Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has described as
‘shameful,’ the travelling of Nigerians to foreign countries to
receive treatment for ailments that should have been
handled in the country.
Jega, who also decried the high case of infant and maternal
mortalities in the country, blamed the situation on poor
state of the country’s health sector and urged the incoming
Health minister to rise up to the challenges.
The former INEC boss made the remarks on Tuesday during
the Investiture and Award Night of the Nigeria Academy of
Pharmacy in Lagos where 22 new fellows were inducted.
He said drug abuse, especially among youths, had become
a disturbing phenomenon that required urgent attention
from professionals of the academy and other relevant
He said, “It is a great honour to be given an Academy of
Pharmacy Life Achievement Award. I have nothing but
commendation for the academy. I urged the academy and
the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria to give serious
attention to the way and manner that drugs that ought to be
prescription drugs are being sold over the counter and
these are doing a lot of damage to our youths because
some of these drugs are addictive.
begin to pay attention to ethical issues associated with
selling prescription drugs over the counter.
“Our country needs progress in many fundamental areas
and the health sector in particular is very important. If you
look at the health statistics, whether infant mortality or
maternal mortality, our incidences are very high and we
need to do something very fast. So, I hope we are going to
get a very good Minister of Health who can pay attention to
how to address some of these challenges and generally
reposition the Health sector so that Nigeria can become a
leading country in terms of health provision.
“It is shameful that most Nigerians have to go abroad for
ailments that ought to be easily treated in this country. The
government has a responsibility to create a policy
framework and enabling environment to ensure that these
challenges are adequately addressed.”
He however dedicated the award to members of staff of
INEC and voters, who he said, contributed to the success of
the 2015 general elections, adding that he inherited a
commission with a bad image.
When asked how confident he was in the ability of the new
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, to consolidate on
his (Jega’s) achievement at the commission, he parried the
question, saying, “That is for another day.”
He also declined comments on why some results in the last
elections were being thrown out by tribunals, despite that,
he was commended for raising the standard of election in
The former Head of State, who is the guest of honour at the
event, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, lauded Jega on the last
elections, adding that the victory of President Muhammadu
Buhari doused the anxiety in the country.
He said, “I congratulate Prof. Attahiru Jega for conducting
free and fair elections. Before the elections, there were
fears that Nigeria was going to break in 2015. But Buhari’s
victory took away the tension of Nigerians. I urge all of us
to continue to work towards a stronger and more united
Earlier in his speech, NAP President, Prince Julius Adelusi-
Adeluyi, said the academy had made efforts to contribute to
the field in areas of teaching and practice by organising a
summit that brought experts from within and outside the