By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
A lawyer, Deji Enisenyin, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari to court on the grounds that his penchant for foreign medical trips violated the provisions of the National Health Act, 2014.
Enisenyin, who filed a suit marked FHC/AB/CS/51/21 at the Federal High Court, Abeokuta, contended that the President specifically breached the provisions of Section 46 of National Health Act, 2014 as a public officer.
He, therefore, sought an order of court declaring that the funding of Buhari’s medical trip on March 30, 2021, without the recommendation of the Medical Board and approval of the Minister of Health “is a flagrant violation of the provisions of Section 46 of the National Health Act, 2014, Act No. 8, A 139 – 172.”
Interestingly, the legal action came amid reports that President Buhari was billed to proceed to London, United Kingdom on Friday, June 25 for a scheduled medical follow-up and is due back in the country during the second week of July, 2021.
In an originating summons supported with a 26-paragraph affidavit deposed to at the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abeokuta Judicial Division on June 15, 2021, Enisenyin is seeking a declaration that the President is a public officer envisaged by Section 46 of the National Health Act, 2014, Act No. 8, A 139 – 172.
Buhari was listed as first defendant in a copy of the suit obtained yesterday while the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan, and the National Assembly were joined as second, third and fourth defendants respectively.
In his application, the plaintiff stated that Section 46 of the National Health Act, 2014 provides that, “Without prejudice to the right of any Nigerian to seek medical check-up, investigation or treatment anywhere within and outside Nigeria, no public officer of the Government of the Federation or any part thereof shall be sponsored for medical check-up, investigation or treatment abroad at public expense except in exceptional cases on the recommendation and referral by the medical board and which recommendation or referral shall be duly approved by the Minister or the Commissioner as the case may be.”
Enisenyin also sought an order of court “that the medical check-up embarked on by the President on March 30 to April 15, 2021 to London, United Kingdom utilizing one of the presidential aircrafts in the Presidential Air Fleet, his stay at the apartment finance by the Federal Government, at public expense is unlawful, as same violates the provisions of Section 46 of the National Health Act, 2014.”
He sought a declaration that by virtue of Section 46 of the National Health Act, 2014, the first defendant cannot embark on a medical trip for check-up outside Nigeria at public expense without the recommendation of the Medical Board and approval of the Minister of Health.
He further sought a declaration that the President, as a public officer, is bound by the provisions of Section 46 of the National Health Act, 2014.
In his affidavit, Enisenyin argued that the President had consistently abandoned the State House Clinic for medical treatment abroad.
The lawyer recalled that Buhari travelled to London on sick leave from July 6 to 19, 2016; May 7 to August 20, 2017; May 8 to 18, 2018; and on March 30, 2021 for two weeks.
“I know for a fact that by virtue of the position of the 1st defendant, his security, health, among other things are catered for from the resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that while in the United Kingdom, the first defendant resided in the property financed with the public fund by the Nigerian government at public expenses,” he submitted.