The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Senate bid to investigate the abandoned N400 billion naira National Primary Health Centre Project initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo across the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “We welcome the decision by the Senate of the Nigerian legislature to investigate the abandoned National Primary Health Centre project initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo”.
The resolution was reached on Wednesday during plenary by the Senate after it considered a motion to that effect. The motion, “Need to investigate the abandoned Four Hundred Billion Naira National Primary Health Center Project”, was sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).
Senator Oloriegbe, in his presentation, noted that the National Primary Health Center project was initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006. According to the lawmaker, the project was to build in each of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, a sixty (60) bed Primary Health Center to be complemented with a three-bedroom flat, doctor’s quarters, an ambulance, all basic hospital equipment and drugs.
The CACOL Boss stated that “It is a known fact that primary health care, as important as it is, is lacking in most parts of the country, especially the rural areas. According to UNICEF, over the past five years, infant and under-five mortality rates have remained steady in Nigeria, at 74 and 117 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively. At these mortality levels, one Nigerian child of every 13 born dies before reaching age 1, and one in every eight does not survive to their fifth birthday. This is an alarming statistics that could have been remedied if these Primary Health Care Centres were functioning in all the 774 local government areas in the country”.
“This action by the Senate is no doubt in line with our previous calls for a probe of all abandoned projects that litter the nooks and crannies of the country. The irony of this situation is that the contract for the project was awarded during the administration of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo whose administration coincidentally created most of the anti-corruption agencies in the country.
The CACOL Boss further enthused, “we at CACOL commend the Senate for this bold step. It is indeed a step in the right direction and we want them to make the report of their findings public so that every Nigerian will know what went wrong with the money allocated for this project and anyone found wanton in the award, implementation and execution of the project should be made to face the full wrath of the law to serve as deterrent to others. We also use this medium to call for stronger legislation, strategies and mechanisms that will ensure efficient project monitoring and implementation across the country”.