After a year-long break due to the Covid 19 travel restrictions, President Buhari has resumed his usual medical trips to the United Kingdom. This is in spite of the huge annual budget allocations to his official hospital at the Villa. The federal government had budgeted
N6.4 billion for the Aso Villa Clinic in the past 6 years.
Analysis of the State House budgets reveal that for every
N1,000 to be spent on healthcare for 200 million individuals in Nigeria, the Federal government planned to spend ₦3 on the president’s clinic in the period 2016-2021.
In 2016, specifically, it was
N1 to the president’s clinic for every N100 meant for the healthcare of the entire population in Nigeria. Yet, it was in this year that President Muhammadu Buhari began travelling abroad for his medical treatment.
Details of Budget Allocation to State House Clinic (2016 – 2021)
There has been a consistent increase in the amount budgeted for health in the last six years (2016-2021). However, the federal government’s highest budget of N2.83 billion Naira for the state house clinic was in 2016, the same year the smallest amount was budgeted for the health of the general public, estimated at N250 billion.
A budget reveals the priority of an individual, business or government. Nigeria’s budgets over the years show that the federal government of Nigeria prioritises the health of the president, his family and staff, possibly higher than that of the other individuals in the country.
In spite of these huge sums invested in the health of the President’s family, it is not clear why the President’s clinic still cannot cater for his healthcare needs.
At various occasions, the wife of the President and his daughter have registered their displeasure about the quality of service at the President’s clinic. Back in 2017, the President’s wife lamented, “I called the Aso Clinic to find out if they have an X-Ray machine, they said it’s not working.. In the end I had to go to a hospital owned and operated by foreigners 100 per cent…“There is a budget for the Hospital and if you go there now, you will see a number of constructions going on but they don’t have a single syringe there. What is the purpose of the buildings if there are [sic] no equipment there to work with?”
However, it appeared Mrs Buhari’s frustrations concerned political executive families like hers, rather than the two hundred million who grapple with worse or non-existent healthcare facilities everyday in Nigeria: “You can imagine what happens across the states to governors wives if this will happen to me in Abuja,” she had said.
A report by the Cable noted that “the combined N3.1billion budgetary allocation to the clinic in 2016 and 2017 was higher than the combined allocation to all the tertiary healthcare centres in the country!”
The State house medical centre was established to cater to the medical needs of the president, the vice-president, their families and presidential aides. Yet, President Buhari ignores the same hospital. Instead, he travels out of the country for weeks and atimes months to get medical attention. A close aide of his too died without finding medical succour at the supposedly model hospital, right at the seat of power.