Members of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND have declared the bill for the establishment of Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo a done deal.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Jibrin Barau gave this assurance on Monday at the public hearing on the bill.
The bill, which is sponsored by Senator David Mark, immediate past President of the Senate and the lawmaker representing Benue South had successfully passed through first and second readings in the upper legislative chamber.
Speaking during the public hearing, Senator Barau noted that if the bill scaled through and gets presidential assent, it would surely reduce the rate of medical tourism in Nigeria.
“This bill is very important to us, not because of the person sponsoring it, but because of its cogency and its importance. I have taken my time to read through the bill and could not agree less with it.
“The varsity, when established would surely reduce the rate of medical tourism among our elites in the country.
“No one will have to fly to India or any country on medical ground if we have all the needed state-of-the-art facility on ground in our country. Once this university takes off, we could even export our medical practitioners, which would boost our economy. As we all know, health they say is wealth.
“For the first since I started chairing this committee, we are witnessing this hall being filled to capacity, which shows how Benue people and Nigerians at large have yearned for this. From my observations so far, this vision is a done deal,” he added.
On his part, Senate President, Bukola Saraki pledged the total support of the 8th assembly to the bill seeking the establishment of the varsity.
Saraki, who was ably represented by Senator Olusola Adeyeye of the Osun Central constituency, said he would do all within his power to push for the speedy passage of the bill.
“Health has been one of the major challenges of this country. At the moment, Nigeria is yet to meet with the standard of World Health Orgsnisation, which suggests one doctor to 600 patients, but what we have in Nigeria is one doctor to 5,000 patients.
“The bill seeking the establishment of Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo is a welcome development and the senate pledges its total support for this great move,” Saraki said,
Speaking earlier, Senator Mark said unhealthy population is a sick nation, hence, his reason to push for the establishment of the institution.
He recalled how he first fought for establishment of same varsity, which was approved by the President Goodluck Jonathan-led government in 2015 but was revoked by the current government.
“This is to correct this impression that it is Idoma University. This is not an Idoma or state university, it is a federal university that we are trying to site in Otukpo and we all know what that means. I am impressed by this overwhelming support by my distinguished colleagues, kinsmen and the entire Nigerians who have seen the need to improve our health sector,” Mark remarked.
Other persons, who spoke at the event include, Prof Shamshudeem Amali, former VC, UNIJOS, Sunday Togo Echono, Perm sec, ministry of education, Joshua Yusuf Musa, SAN, Bar Paul Edeh, Comrade Abba Moro, immediate paste minister of interior and among others urged the senate to ensure speedy passage of the bill.
Just last week, the Nigerian Senate urged President Buhari to kindly make provision for the yet to be established Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo.