2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE
JUNE 18, 2014
No more foreign medical treatment for public officers except…
The National Conference, in a bid to reduce the current negative
impact of medical tourism on the image and integrity of Nigeria
and her healthcare system, has set strict procedures that must
be observed by public officers seeking medical treatment outside
The Conference on Wednesday said seeking medical treatment
abroad has resulted in immense capital flight and drain on
Nigeria’s economy resulting from medical tourism; it cited abuse
of existing processes for screening of referrals for foreign
medical treatment as one of the reasons.
Consequently, it resolved that henceforth, there should be
restriction of government sponsorship of public officers for
foreign medical care; and that unless for exceptional cases that
require referral abroad, all public officers should mandatorily
utilize local health facilities.
These exceptional cases, it said, must be screened by a medical
board made up of appropriate medical and healthcare
In addition, the recommendations of the board should be subject
to the approval of the Minister of Health who is the chief
medical adviser to the Federal Government; except where such
exceptional cases are serious emergencies, in which instant
approval may be given.
Conference however expressed the need for improvement in the
quality of healthcare services in Nigeria; a deliberate effort
to refocus the attitude of healthcare workers to patients in
Nigeria; and improved political commitment to health by
political office holders.
These resolutions were arrived at after heated debates on the
report of the Committee on the Social Sector presented by the
Committee Chairman, Iyom Josephine Anenih, supported by the
deputy chairman, Professor Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufai, the former
Minister of Education.
It was also resolved that free-healthcare be established for
children aged 0-5 years; senior citizens from the age of 65
years; persons living with disability or the physically
challenged persons; free maternal services and free school
After another round of heated debate by the delegates,
Conference resolved that government and owners of
mission/private schools should dialogue to facilitate the
handover of all mission and private schools to their original
In returning the schools, it was agreed that owners must ensure
that they are affordable and able to serve wider variety of the
public as it were in the original concept of the mission
It recommended that there should be regulation of fees charged
by the schools; the schools should provide assistance to the
local community through scholarships and other services; and
that children from other denominations should not be
marginalized in the admission process.
Conference agreed that staff of such schools should have the
option of remaining with the institution or being absorbed into
government service in the case of the return of the mission and
private schools to their original owners.
Still on schools, it was unanimously decided that government
should convert all Almajiri schools to normal schools and
integrate Quranic education curriculum to absorb the millions of
out of school children.
Government was also asked to provide free basic education with
free uniforms, books and midday meals for all children from
primary one to junior secondary three.
It was also resolved that government should build additional
Almajiri Schools to bring them up to 400 as originally planned
while a 10 year plan of sustained implementation should be put
in place with a view to providing access to all children.
On pension, Conference said the 2004 Pension Act should be
amended so that payment of pension to beneficiaries would
continue throughout their lifetime instead of the current
practice where payment is only made to people between 15 and 18
Delegates agreed on the urgent need to amend the 2004 Pension
Act to include a provision to hold the pension commission
responsible and also prescribe penalties.
It was accepted that salary reviews should be reflected in
calculating benefits across the board, particularly in reference
to long-time retirees; salary increases should automatically
affect retirees in both the old and new pension systems.
To ensure full coverage of citizens, Conference said pension
fund administrators and the national pension commission should
be obliged to begin a comprehensive programme of registering the
informal sector workers under the 2004 Pensions Act.
Conference also unanimously decided that a social security
policy be put in practice to cater for the well being of the
elderly in addition to the pension policy.
Proceedings at the Conference however came to a halt for about
15 minutes as female delegates and some male delegates took the
floor to protest attempts by other delegates to vote against the
application of the affirmative action demanding that 35% of
elective offices at all levels be given reserved for women.
As soon as delegates voted to reduce the percentage from 35% to
30%, all the women in the hall including some men stood up,
started singing and threatened a walk-out if the decision was
When the hall was eventually called to order, some of the male
delegates including former Speaker of the House of
Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, spoke in favour of 35%.
They stated that the matter was already an existing government
At this point, it was unanimously decided that since the
practice was already in existence and on-going, it should be
allowed to remain. Instantly, some female delegates started
asking for increase to 40%.
Conference also decided that the Federal Government should put
into effective use, the National Policy on Women adopted in 2004
which was replaced with the National Gender Policy in 2006.
Government was also asked to draft for passage and
implementation, a Bill on the Abolition of all Forms of
Discrimination against Women in Nigeria to address the issue of
discrimination and violence against women and maltreatment of
Delegates adopted a recommendation that government should
legislate to prohibit installation of telecommunication mast in
residential neighbourhoods and to prohibit other practices that
negatively impact on health including female genital mutilation.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY, MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS
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