Professor Zakari Aliyu, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Taraba State Specialist Hospital Jalingo, who granted an interview concerning the health condition of Governor Danbaba Suntai, appeared before the ad hoc committee of the Taraba State House of Assembly. Weekly Trust was there.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Taraba State Specialist Hospital Jalingo, Professor Zakari Yusuf Aliyu, who was summoned by the State House of Assembly after granting an interview to Daily Trust on the condition of ailing Governor Danbaba Suntai, yesterday appeared before the lawmakers.
The doctor told a five-member ad hoc committee of the Assembly that based on his recommendation; Suntai was about three days ago moved from Germany where he has been receiving treatment to an American hospital for a better treatment. He also said that the Suntai might not return to duty soon.
Professor Zakari, who was summoned by the lawmakers after saying in an interview that the governor had lost some cognitive abilities due to a brain injury, stood by what he said in the interview.
Answering questions on the floor of the Taraba State House of Assembly, he said that his interview was meant to ensure that the ailing governor is moved to a better health facility where he would be given the best medical attention available in the world.
He said he was dissatisfied with the condition of the governor when he visited him in Germany and had earlier written a memo to the Acting Governor, Alhaji Garba Umar, in February this year to that effect.
“I granted the interview with sincerity of mind and purity of purpose,” Prof Zakari told the committee.
He said the information he gave to the press on the health condition of the governor was a routine one and not privileged or confidential as beeing insinuated; stressing that he only gave one per cent of the governor’s health information at his disposal.
According him, while in Germany, he spoke with some of the nurses and health officers handling the governor’s health and was able to get information about his health condition.
“When I arrived in Germany, I met the physicians of the governor and we reviewed the details of his medical report. I asked the nurses attached to the governor and they made available to me all his medical records,” he said adding that “Given the nature of His Excellency’s condition, he can’t be expected home in one or two weeks.”
Professor Aliyu also told the committee that he had earlier met with the acting governor in the presence of the Majority Leader of Taraba State House of Assembly Charles Maijankai where he was questioned on the rationale behind his interview which he explained to the satisfaction of the acting governor.
When asked whether he was the personal physician to Governor Suntai, Aliyu told the committee that he is not the direct personal physician to the governor, but he is the Consultant that oversees the personal physician to Suntai, adding that he has been treating the governor for the past five years and knows more about his health history.
He told the committee that Governor Suntai has three chronic medical health conditions which he has been treating for the past five years.
“Since I am the consultant overseeing his personal physician, the routine interview I granted on his condition was to ginger up the acting governor to hasten Suntai’s movement to U.S. which I am glad they finally did.” he said.
Earlier, the Deputy Speaker of the Taraba State House of Assembly, Abel Peter Diah, who represented the speaker, Mr. Istifanus Gbana, said the investigating committee was not set up to prosecute or crucify the doctor, but to ascertain whether the publication was ill-motivated or out of line with the Civil Service Rule.
He said the outcome of the public hearing with the doctor would be presented to the entire House at plenary for discussion.
During the public hearing, the committee members were guided and led by a three-man counsel who crosses examined the CMD. The hearing was witnessed by large turnout of people including journalists and executive members of the Nigeria Medical Association, Taraba State.
Meanwhile, mixed reactions had continued to trail the summoning of the CMD by the state House of Assembly over the recent newspaper interview in which he made startling revelations on the condition of Governor Suntai.
Suntain was flown to Germany few days after sustaining injuries from the plane crash in October 2012 near Yola, Adamawa State. Suntai was flying the plane himself. He was said to have suffered brain injury.
In an interview with Daily Trust recently, Dr. Aliyu said that Governor Suntai suffers from speech loss and inability to comprehend same because of brain injuries.
But when contacted, Senior Special Adviser to Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai, Silvanus Giwa, said he could not confirm the hospital which the governor has been moved to but promised to get back to our correspondent as soon as he gets that.
According to him, the movement of the governor is not according to the dictates of Prof Aliyu Zakari Yusuf as claimed. The acting governor’s spokesman could not be reach yesterday.
Taraba State Commissioner for Information Emmanuel Bello was not immediately available for comment last night. But in a recent statement, Bello dismissed the doctor’s comments, saying he was not qualified to speak on Governor Suntai’s health condition since he was not his personal physician. Bello also said that the governor was recuperating contrary to what was said by the doctor.
While reacting, a human right activist and legal luminary Barr. Solomon Dalung said the lawmakers goofed for hurriedly setting up a committee to probe the CMD, adding that the path being taken by the lawmakers cannot save the situation over the health status of the governor.
“I do not think the way members of the state House of Assembly are going about it is ideal. They have absolutely no control over issues of ethical conduct of doctors; they are not the regulatory body and so if they have any issue with the CMD’s comments on the state of health of the governor, what they should have done was to refer the matter to the regulatory council which is the Medical and Dental Council or his association, Nigeria Medical Association. Therefore they have absolutely no responsibility in that regard,’’ he said.
He noted that the lawmakers ought to have understood that there are strict regulations and laws in terms of professional conduct which should not be violated. “Whatever complaint or whatever feelings and position they have, they should have conveyed to the appropriate bodies to look into the matter rather than to assign the power to themselves by setting up committee to probe it,’’ he said.
Also in a swift reaction, Taraba Concern Citizens Forum alleged that there were sinister moves by a cabal who doesn’t want change in the status quo to sack the CMD for revealing the governor’s health condition.
The spokesman of the group, Barr. Mustapha Bello noted that “the lawmakers were acting on stereotype script punched by some elements in the state and this has since created uncertainty and despair. The governor is not just an ordinary person whose ailment should not be revealed; he is a public figure being treated by state resources,’’ he said.
He said “it is laughable that the legislators would harass the CMD of the state’s Specialist Hospital, Dr Aliyu Zakar for being truthful over Suntai’s health condition. Concerned indigenes had been condemning their action; and even the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) has kicked against the move.’
Source: Daily Trust