The absurdities amidst the raging infernos in Nigeria subsist as the President travels to Germany reportedly for a “medical check-up”. The protracted development of Nigerian Presidents routinely seeking medical care outside the boundaries of the country is disconcerting and sardonically emblematic of the lack of confidence in their own governance. The timing of this particular Presidential trip underscores the glaring and alarming indictment of the status of the healthcare system in Nigeria. Furthermore, it raises many concerns, about the government’s unremitting indifference to the predicament of the masses, that engender contemplation.
What is the status of the kidnapped Chibox girls? Tragically, some were sold as chattel on the market square of human trafficking. Some may be dead, some may be pregnant from the sordid acts of violation, while others may have been married against their will. Most of them are likely condemned to the ignominious status of sexual servitude, aka “sex slaves”. Yet, just over 2 months after the kidnapping and as the contagion of Boko Haram spreads, Nigeria “wrapped up” the inquiry into the reprehensible abduction. How calamitous it is for the country, that its national treasure, brazenly kidnapped, remains decidedly and conspicuously forgotten within the convenience of the “callous” “ineptitude” of the government. The report from the alleged investigation must be demanded to ensure that the scathing scrutiny of the truth exposes the paucity of findings and subjects them to justified condemnation.
What medical care was provided to Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh in Nigeria? The comparative analysis of the events leading to the outcome in her case and that of the American doctor, Dr. Ken Brantley, reveals disturbing facts highlighting the widening gulf between Nigeria and other countries. One similarity, with a pronounced distinction, is that they were both treated in their home countries. The American doctor was treated at Emory Hospital, in a patient biocontainment unit, a “super-charged” intensive care unit that is specially equipped to handle the most serious cases. The care Dr. Brantley received, in addition to ZMapp, included basic interventions which should ordinarily be available in Nigeria six decades and 3 years following its independence.
Unfortunately, in stark contrast, the reports of the deplorable conditions at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), where Dr. Adadevoh was confined, are reminiscent of the unconscionable leper colonies, where patients afflicted with disease were isolated without access to adequate care or no care. Consequently, many succumbed to the depredation of the disease. In 2014, in the context of reports that Nigeria’s GDP for 2013 was “80.3 trillion naira”, the fact that any of its patients find themselves relegated to squalid conditions steeped in the burgeoning of the country’s lamentable infrastructure is utterly irreconcilable. Where is the money?
The ensuing national consternation resulting from the tragic loss of Dr. Adadevoh must not dissipate within the turbulent winds of pitiable governance commingled with chaotic and erroneous reports. Rather, a full accounting by the government, through the dissemination of the unvarnished facts concerning the conditions at IDH, and the treatment rendered to the patients must be mandated.
While the President travels in the comfort of the presidential plane to receive care outside the country, at the expense of the citizens and largesse of the national coffers, he validates the lack of confidence in the state of affairs in the country over which he presides. The blatant insensitivity is unconscionable. There are many questions percolating in the aftermath of the tragedies. How safe are Nigerians from the insidious threat of Boko Haram? Whose sons or daughters will be killed or kidnapped next? How many Nigerians can afford the exorbitant price of an airplane ticket to seek medical care elsewhere? Can Nigerians rely on their government to make their welfare a priority? When will the standard of care that the President desperately seeks outside the country be made available to all Nigerians?
The disconcerting conclusion from the incidents is that the government ascribes no value to the lives of Nigerians. The illusory response of the government, to kidnapping, sex slavery, the contemptible resources available to patients and the sustained and harrowing plight of the populace, constitutes wanton disregard for the lives of its citizens. Indeed, posthumous accolades may have virtue. However, intrepid attempts to save life must be the paramount obligation of the government, and must be embarked upon when the living are living, for they are of no benefit to the dead.
It is excruciatingly heartbreaking to realize that the nature of a person’s citizenship may unkindly dictate the outcome of an illness or an abduction. Yet sadly, that is the miserable reality from these perplexing events.
Even amidst the suffocated democracy, how many more calamities must ensnare Nigerians before there is a full accounting by the government.
Dated this 24th day of August 2014.
Dr. Yemisi Solanke Koya, Esq.