Group seeks probe of Benin teaching hospital N100m transplant project
A pressure group, Political Watchdog of Nigeria (POWAN), yesterday called on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, to investigate execution of N100 million University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH bone marrow transplantation centre project approved by the Federal Ministry of Health 2012. POWAN alleged the project was never carried out.
Chairman of the group in Edo State, Curtis Ugbo, said the interest of the association was aroused owing to the pathetic plight of sickle-cell sufferers who besiege the centre daily to seek for treatment only to be referred to the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan.
However, in a swift reaction yesterday, the Chief Medical Director of UBTH, Professor Michael Ibadin said the sum was approved in the budget for the “Stem Cell Transplant Project in UBTH as special intervention fund. The fund was to be administered directly by the Federal Ministry of Health and not the hospital. Efforts by the hospital to ensure that the funds were fully accessed proved abortive as we were told that the Ministry must handle the disbursement. Towards the close of the year, two 60 KVA generators were brought to the Stem Cell Unit by contractors unknown to the hospital.”
POWAN alleged that in 2012 under the then administration of President Goodluck Jonathan some equipment were reportedly purchased for the centre through a contractor only for the said machines to be retrieved by the same contracting firm in a suspicious manner.
The group expressed regrets that Dr. Osa Bazuaye, the only qualified bone marrow transplant expert in the Africa sub-region from UBTH is now the one to set up the same centre in University College Hospital, Ibadan.