Residents of Plateau State were full of joy when President Muhammadu Buhari, in July 2021, signed into law the Act establishing the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Jos.
Many people, especially the residents of Jos North Local Government Area felt that, at least for the first time, a tangible development is in the pipeline, perhaps in a show of the federal government’s appreciation for the overwhelming support it has been enjoying from especially, the Hausa and Fulani communities in the LGA.
It is expected that by now, almost six months down the line, the actual site for the hospital infrastructure is given by the state government, hopefully, the abandoned former Jos University Teaching Hospital, situated at the city center, or alternatively secure another land, suggestively, around Narkuta village. But, alas, some available facts at my disporsal are indicating that the affiliating body of the hospital, being the University of Jos Teaching Hospital, has concluded plans to relocate the hospital to an unlawful place entirely out of the lawful geographical area of Jos as stipulated in the Act establishing the Orthopedic hospital.
A reliable source at the Federal Ministry of Health has revealed that there was a pending visibility report recommending relocating the hospital from Jos to Barkin Ladi. This information was confirmed by the Chief Medical Director of the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Pokop Bupwatda. On November 20, 2022, Mr. Makut Macham, the Director of Press to Governor Simon Lalong, quoted the CMD, on a courtesy visit to have told Lalong that:
“The National Orthopedic Hospital affiliated to the University of Jos and to be located in the Lalong Legacy Model Hospital Barkin Ladi as one of the many good things the governor has done to improve the standard of the hospital.” This was yet another clear gross violation of the: “Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board (Amendment) Act, 2021.”
Herein, I reproduce the amended Act, for all to reason thus: “…amends the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board Act, Cap. O10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the establishment of the Orthopedic Hospital Jos, Plateau State under the control of the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board and affiliated to the Jos University Teaching Hospital to provide specialized orthopedic treatment and medical services. The Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board Act, Cap, O10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 in this Act referred to as “the Principal Act” is amended as set out in this Act. The Second Schedule to the Principal Act is amended by inserting after paragraph 3 a new paragraph 4. The Orthopedic Hospital, Jos, Plateau”.
It is glaring from the forgoing facts that any attempt by whoever or whatever person or authority to relocate the project from Jos elsewhere, is amounting to inflicting serious injury on the rule of law, and by extension, the good people of Jos who have labored so much to bring in the APC led government.
It is indeed sad to hear the news that the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, is being lobbied and under intense pressure to be an agent of disobedience of the law, should he concede to the unlawful sitting if the hospital away from Jos.
It will be of great interest to all Nigerians, in general terms, the minister of health and all concerned, to know that shifting the hospital will amount to flagrant abuse of our rights, being one of those communities that have so much labored for the successes of the APC in all ramifications.
I am also of the firm view that the minister of health and the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board should not be part of illegality.
To me and any other mindful person, it will be unbecoming of the attitude of Governor Lalong, who is known for upholding lawful process, and being a just leader to all Plateau citizens, to have allowed the such an unlawful thing to happen. And so in this regard, we are calling on him not only to discourage it, but to also work at ensuring that the Orthopedic Hospital is sited in Jos, in accordance with the extant Act establishing it.
It is also my hope and belief that President Muhammadu Buhari will intervene to ensure that the right thing is adhered to, by directing the minister of health, as well as the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board, to strictly abide by the Act establishing the hospital in Jos.
It isn’t a secret that civil protestations from members of the Hausa and Fulani, mainly Muslims, have hit the road to the 2023 elections which the APC-led government has enjoyed their support but is now threatening to withdraw such voting support due to the persistent neglect and outright disregard to our plights by the government, should the planned unlawful shifting of the orthopedic hospital from lawful site in Jos, to elsewhere become a reality.
Alhaji Dan’Asabe Muhammad Tanko,