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NYSC member triggers spat between Buhari, Atiku.

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President Muhammadu Buhari’s gesture to settle the medical bills of a blind member of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, yesterday, stoked a political fire-fight after former Vice President Atiku Abubakar taunted him for sacrificing the country’s medical capacity through repeated medical tourism.

Atiku, in a riposte to Buhari’s gesture, had tackled him for putting electoral considerations in a humanitarian deed. The former vice-president’s assertions were immediately tackled by President Buhari’s camp which flayed Atiku for going to London in 2007 to seek relief for what it called a simple leg injury.

The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA on its part, blamed federal officials for not doing much over the years to stem the flow of medical tourism, saying the problem was worsening, with scarce Nigerian funds being used to develop the health institutions of other countries.

The face-off between the two camps followed Buhari’s promise to take care of the cost of medical treatment of a 28-year-old serving member of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, Okenala Ahmed, who is visually-impaired.

While commending Buhari for his gesture in a tweet yesterday, Atiku, nevertheless, criticized the President for spending much on his medical vacations, saying the amount spent would have covered the cost of setting up the kind of facility to handle Ahmed’s condition.

“I commend @NGRPresident @MBuhari for paying medical bills of a blind corps member five months to the 2019 election, but I remind him that if he had invested the public funds he spends on his London medicals on public healthcare, he wouldn’t need to do this,”

Atiku wrote in his official twitter handle yesterday. His assertion, however, got an immediate response from Buhari’s Special Assistant on New Media, Bashir Ahmed, who in his tweet said: “Just remember sir, on March 11, 2007, Nigeria’s VP, a leading contender in April 2007’s presidential election, Alhaji Atiku, Abuja, interrupted his campaign to go to London to treat a ‘not very serious injury’ on his knee.”

The APC was also dismissive of the former vice-president’s claims, saying Atiku with his foreign content should not be speaking on the issue. APC National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in a reaction, told Vanguard: “It is not people like Atiku that are not local content who should be speaking on matters like this. ‘’We know how he went to London when he fell from a treadmill,” he said yesterday.

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