Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has inducted the National Hospital, Abuja into the Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame for alleged multiple violation of the provisions of the law, including poor record-keeping practice.
The group described the hospital’s attitude towards transparency and accountability as an open sore in urgent need of healing.
In a statement by its Programme Manager, Mr. Ridwan Sulaimon, MRA said it was disheartening that the management of the hospital did not appear motivated to redeem its bruised image despite the fact that the FOI Act not only provides the opportunity for it to do so, but actually makes it mandatory for public institutions to put appropriate record-keeping in place.
MRA noted that rather than complying with the clear provisions of the FOI Act, for over six years since the law was enacted, the National Hospital has continued to flagrantly violate the binding provisions.
“This uncommon sophistication and capacity naturally justified the claim of the hospital as the flagship of medical institutions in Nigeria.
“Therefore, such institution ought to require no persuasion to improve its record keeping and transparency, especially given the volume of some of its financial dealings.
“For instance, the hospital claimed that between 2005 and 2010, it spent cumulatively the sum of N93,509,264.00 as waivers/exemptions granted indigent patients to access treatment.
“During the period 2005 to 2010, it reportedly waived between N10.25 million (in 2005) and N20.55 million (in 2008) for indigent persons. There are no data available for any period after 2010, Sulaimon said.
MRA moved against the hospital for not designating and publicizing the title and address of an appropriate officer to whom requests for information should be sent by members of the public.