Governor Danbaba Suntai
By Patrick Ugeh
Taraba State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Emmanuel Bello, Monday said it was erroneous to infer that the decision to first take the state governor, Danbaba Suntai, to the National Hospital, Abuja, and later to Germany for expert medical attention was not because the lives of his three aides were less important.
When the Cessna plane being piloted by Suntai crashed landed last Thursday, the governor and his aides were taken to a specialist hospital in Yola from where Suntai was flown to the National Hospital, Abuja on Friday and later to Germany the following day.
His aides, one of whom was unconscious, on the other hand, were taken to the National Hospital on Sunday night, fuelling outrage in some quarters that they should have been taken to the National Hospital and possibly flown abroad at the same time.
But Bello told THISDAY Monday in a telephone chat that the delay in transferring the governor’s aides was because the levels of their injuries were less severe than that of the state chief executive’s.
He added that they were left in Yola to be stable enough for them to be able to embark on the journey to Abuja, assuring that they got very good medical treatment in Yola.
A source at the nation’s apex health care provider, however, confirmed that the eventual decision to transfer Suntai’s Aide-De -Camp (ADC), Dasat Iliya, Chief Security Officer (CSO), Timo Dangana, and the Chief Detail, Joel Dan, to Abuja was because they were not getting the required treatment in Yola and had fractures on both legs to be brought to the National Hospital “because we have the facilities” to treat them here.
“They didn’t have the facilities in Yola,” she said.
Claiming that there was no discrimination between the treatment given to the state governor and his aides, Bello said generally they were getting equal treatments and that the aides are likely to be sent to Germany for additional medical evaluation and possible treatment either Monday or Tuesday.
He explained that it was easier to evacuate Suntai to Germany because of the support he got from President Goodluck Jonathan and diplomats, who facilitated getting the documents for his trip as a result of his status as governor.
He said the families, especially the wives of the aides were happy with the way their injured husbands whose trip to Abuja was witnessed by Governor Murtala Nyako, all commissioners and special assistants were treated by the government.
To underscore the good treatment the aides got, the commissioner said: “yesterday (Sunday) was a happy occasion in Yola. Governor Murtala Nyako was at the airport to see off the aides. All the commissioners and special advisers and other top government officials were present. In fact, they got the same VIP treatment Governor Suntai got.”
He pointed out that apart from the ADC, the other two aides were generally in good condition and could return to work anytime from now.
“Their level of injuries does not call for serious concern,” Bello said.
When THISDAY called the National Hospital around 4.30p.m. Monday, the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Haastrup, said he could not tell whether or not they would be referred abroad but said they were in stable conditions.