SERAP also asked the health minister to provide details of spending of allocations to 20 other federal teaching hospitals and 20 Federal Medical Centres across the country, for the period covering 2010 to 2017.
In a statement on Sunday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, SERAP said, “The information should include details of spending on specific projects and facilities at LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry of Health”.
The FOI request read in part: “As trustee of public funds, your Ministry has a legal duty to render account on the specific details of spending of capital allocations to LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry to the beneficiaries (Nigerians) of the trust, if and when called upon to do so. Any failure or refusal to render account will also be clearly inconsistent with the attitude of a government that has repeatedly expressed commitment to the fight against corruption, and to transparency and accountability.
“As a key agency of government, the Ministry of Health has a sacred duty to ensure that the country’s allocations to the health sector are used solely to achieve adequate access to health care services for all Nigerians and residents.
“This implies providing strong leadership in the efforts to curb public sector corruption, mismanagement and neglect, and to honour Freedom of Information requests on the spending of allocations to LUTH and other teaching hospitals and medical centres across the country.”
It explained that despite huge budgetary allocations, many of the teaching hospitals and medical centres under the direct control of the Ministry had been left to fall apart with many lacking some basic amenities.
The agency further stated that “ordinary Nigerians have derived appallingly little benefit from all of the allocations, in terms of access to basic healthcare, showing a failure to respect and ensure the right to health and human dignity in the country.”
It, therefore, stated that details of the spending on health care facilities should be provided within seven days, failure of which the agency would take appropriate legal actions to compel the Minister to comply with the request.
SERAP said the disclosure of the information requested will give it (SERAP), as well as the general public, a true picture of how the allocations to LUTH and the other hospitals were spent to improve medical facilities and infrastructure in the hospitals.