Lawan stated this during a public hearing on three health bills organised by the Senate Committee on Heath on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.
According to Lawan, some ministry officials have made it their business to frustrate bills passed by the National Assembly by ensuring they are denied presidential assent.
He expressed displeasure over the absence of the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunmibe Mamora, and other ministry officials during the public hearing.
The bills considered for public hearing on Tuesday are Federal Orthopedic Hospital Kuta, (Establishment) Bill; National University of Health and Medical Sciences, Suleja (Establishment) Bill; and Federal University of Health and Medical Sciences Abeokuta, (Establishment) Bill.
“Sometimes, the National Assembly will process a bill and the bill would be taken to Mr President for his assent, and somebody will just go round and misadvice that the bill shouldn’t be assented to, mostly Ministry people.
“So, it is always in the interest of the government and good governance that when there is a public hearing, the Ministry and government officials, the technical people should be around to hear the views of the people.
“If they have any objection, they should say so in the presence of everyone, so that they listen to arguments.
“And, therefore, it is said that neither the Minister nor the Minister of State, nor anyone from the Federal Ministry of Health is here to attend this particular public hearing. I feel it is sad, and nothing should happen to our bills.”
The Senate President emphasised that the public hearing on the bills became imperative given the need to grow the health sector, by not only increasing facilities but also enhancing the quality of personnel manning this important sector.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that the quantity and quality of personnel in the health sector are as important as the physical features of the sector.
“While we are worried about growing the structures, we cannot also be less concerned about growing the relevant human resources.
“Manpower in the health sector is a regular focus, because of its ability to make the difference between life and death. The formal educational requirements towards initial qualification is fundamental, just as training and re-training.
“Added to this, is the management element, because of the need to formulate policies and the attendant proper direction for actualization.
“It is for this reason that we cannot renege on the obligation to focus on training institutions, for sustainable growth. This is the central focus of the Bills we are discussing today,” Lawan explained.