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COVID-19: SGF reverses self, says aware of poor healthcare system

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has reversed his earlier remark that he never knew Nigeria’s healthcare system was in…

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has reversed his earlier remark that he never knew Nigeria’s healthcare system was in a very bad state until the coronavirus global pandemic.

Mustapha who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said this on Friday in Abuja at the ninth joint national briefing of the PTF on COVID-19.

According to him, his comment was taken out of context and didn’t reflect what he said on Thursday while briefing the leadership of the National Assembly.

He said that when the committee met with the leadership of the national assembly regarding the pandemic that his role as the chairman of the presidential task force on COVID-19 opened his eye to the current state of Nigeria’s healthcare infrastructure.

“Yesterday (Thursday), I mentioned at the National Assembly that I became fully aware of the state of our medical system during the execution of this Task Force assignment. It has become clear that this has been taken out of context. I must clarify that I am aware and has indeed been a champion for the reform and transformation of the health care system.

“However, this PTF assignment has afforded me the opportunity to dig deeper, interrogate and x-ray the system better. So for anyone to think that I didn’t know the level of deplorable state of our healthcare systems, is a complete misrepresentation.

“For the benefit of those who do not know me well, I come from rural Nigeria. I was born in a college almost 64 years ago that didn’t even have a hospital, it had small missionary dispensary probably with one midwife, no birth certificate was offered. So I don’t even have birth certificate, I have declaration of age. A lot of you sitting here are privileged to have been born in a better and more equipped medical facilities. So from birth I know the state of our medical, healthcare, I am not a foreigner.

“My statement was totally taken out of context because that was not the reflection of what I said. But having to serve in this committee gave me a further insight into what is happening. Most of the things you see around as specialists, hospitals or clinics, you just see the buildings, you don’t know what is inside. But, being in this committee has given me opportunity of walking into these facilities, looking at what they have in relation to what they ought to have, my conclusion on that is that they don’t have what they ought to have.

“I wanted to give this explanation so that most of you will not think I am an ‘ajebota’, no. I was born a rural Nigerian, I grew up in rural Nigeria, I went to school in rural Nigeria and I still live in rural Nigeria. Yola is my home, I’m just on a journey here in Abuja. At the end of my work or whatever I am doing here, I will return home which is rural Nigeria and I am going to live with the facilities in rural Nigeria.

“The truth of the matter is that this is not the time to be distracted with unnecessary controversies,” Mustapha said.

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