Kogi and Cross River States Health Commissioners are to face prosecution in a court of competent jurisdiction over their role and alleged unethical conduct and cover ups of facts in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.
Before their trial in court, Drs. Betta Edu and Saha Haruna-Audu of Cross River and Kogi respectively will first face a probe panel put in place by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) for allegedly obstructing the activities of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in their respective states.
National President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Professor Innocent Ujah gave this information and further explained that the two health Commissioners have been reported to the Nigeria Medical Association by the NCDC and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) for allegedly “playing politics with human lives” in the two states.
According to the NMA President some doctors have to be sanctioned and be made to face trial in competent courts, adding that by their training, doctors are expected to be objective on issues affecting the well-being of humanity.
Ujah, who was recently sworn in to office as the NMA Chairman is renowned Professor of Medicine and former Director-General of the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research has taken the response to Covid-19 pandemic as the first challenge since his resumption of office. In his opinion, the posture of the two health commissioners to the national efforts to control and curtail the Covid-19 pandemic was not only worrisome but unethical.
The NMA president in a lecture with the theme: “Social Organisations, Human Rights and Covid-19 Pandemic”, he delivered at the 22nd Anniversary and Founders Day Celebration of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, held that, contrary to the erroneous impression created by the two commissioners that coronavirus does not exist in their states, abundant medical evidence has established the existence of the disease.
The NMA chief who took swipe at the two commissioners said that the denial of the presence of Covid-19 in the two states was politically motivated and unethical on the part of the two commissioners.
“The truth of the matter in this country today is that Covid-19 is real. It has come and it’s throwing this nation into a big mess.
“It is a known fact today that the greatest challenge to humanity is the coronavirus. We do not need to wait till we begin to see dead bodies on our streets before we believe that the disease is with us.
“What those Commissioners are doing is to endanger the lives of the people instead of advising their Governors properly.
“They don’t live in island. They are epidemic characterization of the disease. Kogi is a transit state when you come from the South East to the North, you pass through Kogi, when you come from the North, you pass through Kogi, from the South, you pass through Kogi; and they are saying there is no COVID-19 in Kogi state.
“Cross River has international borders and there is no reason why COVID-19 should not be in Cross Rivers State. I think they have recorded 5 already, and it could be more. I believe the Commissioners are coming out to play politics with human lives.
“They are going to be arraigned by the Dental and Medical Council for unethical behaviour. They are Medical Doctors and it is within the purview of the MDCN to discipline them and if found guilty, appropriate punishment will be meted out to them”, he said.
The NMA president commended the federal government for opting out of WAEC examination this year, adding that it will be a national tragedy to allow innocent children to be infected by the dreaded disease.
Ujah also praised the Peace Corps of Nigeria for its active support to the federal government in the fight against Covid-19 and called on other youth organisations in the country to emulate the Corps.