Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Corruption and the pain of being a Nigerian physician. Written by Ahidjo Abdulkadiri Kawu
1. I am a spine surgeon employed at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada Abuja as a consultant.
2. I was a fellow of Scoliosis Research Society at the New York Hospital for Joint Diseases, US in August 2010 under the tutelage of Dr Baron S Lonner.
3. At the completion of my training, Dr Baron S Lonner on my behalf approached Samantha Torres of DePuy Spine Inc US for donation of spine equipment to help operate indigent patients in Nigeria to put to practice all I have learnt with him.
4. On the 15th December 2010, DePuy Spine Inc US approved the donation of some spine items for use by me at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada.
5. I contacted my hospital management who informed me to ship the equipment to Nigeria.
6. My clearing agent Siklaw Global Resource Ltd after completing the Form M and risk assessment paid the custom duty on the 6th march 2011.
7. The equipment was shipped in to Nigeria from the US and arrived in May 2011.
8. On arrival, the O/C (Officer in Charge) Custom Services Mr Wakama GAP inspected the document and said that we must settle him before he release the good since the donated equipment has a value of about N50 million.
9. I instructed the clearing agent to refuse to part with any money.
10. In order to frustrate the release of the equipment he refused to examine or release the equipment till it incurred a demurrage of N27, 800.00. His Immediate bosses intervene and directed him to inspect and release the equipment
11. In-order to justify his delay in inspecting the goods, he wrote a report that we undervalued the goods so as to evade payment of the requisite custom duty
12. Due to his greed; the need to justify his action and covered his crime he forgot that medical equipment and donated materials for humanitarian purpose do not attract any duty
13. This issue dragged on till 15th July 2011, when I wrote an official petition to the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Custom Service.
14. There was no response from the Nigeria Custom Service till October 2011 when I officially reported the case to ICPC for further action
15. In November, I was invited by the investigation officer from Nigeria Custom Service to tell my story
16. I was informed by the investigating officer that I have not done anything wrong and that the officer knows that too and that the equipment will be brought to the hospital for me.
17. Since November till date, the equipment is still at the storage which the Nigeria Custom Service has refused to release
18. I have discharged home to die many patients who would have benefited from this equipment.
19. I wanted the government to investigate this claim and appropriate sanction should be applied to this irresponsible officer whose greed has led to death of many indigent patients in Nigeria, yet I have not received any correspondence from them.
This is the story of Nigeria, where thieves have taken up our lives and greed is our religion
Kayode Ogundamisi is a commentator on Nigerian and international affairs, he was involved in the Nigerian pro-democracy struggle, Ogundamisi survived a trumped up charge of treasonable offence against the military government of General Babangida, he was detained in Jos prison in 1991 and released after intensive local and international campaigns against the government charging him and 12 other students before a military tribunal. Ogundamisi was a frontline member of the National Association of Nigerian Student and a former secretary general of the the University of Jos Students Union in Nigeria and the O'dua Peoples Congress.