Drama as Reps move to outlaw medical tourism  for public officials

From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, passed for second reading, a bill seeking to outlaw medical tourism for public officials on the expense of the government, except on the recommendation of a medical board.

The, which is seeking to amend the National Health Act 2014, is sponsored by the member representing Esan North East/ Esan South West Federal Constituency of Edo State, Sergius Ogun.

The proposed legislation prescribed a fine of N500,000,000 (five hundred million naira) or 7 years  imprisonment or both for violators.

However, there was a mild drama during debate on the bill, as Ibrahim Isiaka, who seconded the bill for second reading sought to withdraw his support for the proposed legislation.

Isiaka, who raised a point of order, while Ogun was leading debate on the bill, told House that he wants to withdraw his support, as the views the sponsor was canvassing was different  from what he saw in the bill.

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“Mr Speaker, distinguished honourable colleagues, what I heard is quite different from what he is postulating because of that, Mr. Speaker, before it is thrown open for further debate or before you rule, I withdraw my secondment, Mr. Speaker”, he stated.

However, the deputy speaker, Idris Wase, who presided over yesterday’s plenary, ruled him out of order. Wase, in his ruling explained  that the House rules does not have provision for members, who had seconded motions to withdraw their support.

Ogun, in his lead debate,  had said that the bill is aimed at imposing sanctions on public officers who violate Section 46 of the principal act, which prohibits indiscriminate medical tourism for public officials.

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