Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
A Bill seeking the establishment of a Federal Medical Centre in President Muhammadu Buhari’s home town, Daura, Katsina State, caused a stir at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The Bill entitled, “A Bill for an Act to Amend the Federal Medical Centres Act, and Establish Federal Medical Centre, Daura, Kastina State; and for Related Matters (HB.2125),” was co-sponsored by Muhammed and Hon. Nasiru Sani Zongo Daura.
It came up for second reading.
Two lawmakers from the state – Hon. Fatuhu Mohammad, and Hon. Babagida Ibrahim – were at each other’s neck as they argued profusely the justification or otherwise of siting the facility in Daura .
While Rep Mohammed, co-sponsor of the bill, insisted on siting of the hospital in Daura, Ibrahim argued that it be relocated to Funtua, another important town in Katsina.
Ibrahim argued that Daura already had a number of medical facilities to cater for the health needs of residents, hence other towns in the state should be considered.
But in a swift response, Mohammed argued that the proposed Bill was to upgrade an already existing medical facility in Daura and not to build a brand new hospital.
He also argued that Daura had a high population of people in serious need of the services of a tertiary health institution like FMC.
As debate on the Bill got hotter, Deputy Speaker, Hon. Ahmed Idris, told Ibrahim that he could not amend such a bill through a motion.
Contributing on the Bill, Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, called for understanding between Mohammed and Ibrahim, clarifying that the Bill stood on its own.
He supported the Sponsors’ position that the hospital could not be relocated to another place as it was for the upgrade of an already existing medical facility.
“The facility he stated cannot be transferred to Funtua as it is already in existence and not to be freshly established,” Okechukwu submitted.
The debate almost became a matter of Southern lawmakers as Hon. Nkem Abonta representing Ukwa East/Ukwa West federal constituency of Abia State, spoke in support of Ibrahim.
The Abia lawmaker called for the consideration of Ibrahim’s views and concerns, urging the House to find an amicable solution to resolve of impasse.
Contributing, another Southern legislator, Hon. Chinyere Igwe, also spoke in favour of Ibrahim, saying he has right to seek the relocation of the center to Funtua.
However, the Leader of the House, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa asked Ibrahim to come up with a fresh Bill to cater to the need of those in Funtua instead of dragging the one being proposed by his colleague.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, before putting the question called on the House to make the right decision on the matter, noting that both Mohammed and Ibrahim have the responsibility to attract federal presence to their constituencies.
The Bill was later put to vote and approved for a second reading and referred to the House Committee on Health Institutions for further legislative action.