Okon Bassey in Uyo
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has described the report that over $30 billion had been expended in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the state as alarming.
Speaking when the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, paid him a courtesy call at the Government House in Uyo, the state capital, the governor expressed doubt that such a huge amount of money was spent without any verifiable records nor input from the relevant agencies in the state.
According to him, “I would like to be shown the hospital where such facilities where donated or the equipment that were procured because no one has shown me any such intervention.”
Emmanuel harped on accountability, accuracy and transparency in the records and expenditure of funds allocated for the programme, promising to set an effective machinery to ensure a success of the programme in the state.
He also urged the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) to collaborate with health personnel in the state, saying with the health care facilities on ground, Akwa Ibom State best suits the pilot scheme, as he thanked the US for choosing the state for the programme.
The governor said his administration is ready to partner the US in healthcare and other developments’ efforts aimed at making life meaningful to humanity.
He added that his administration has invested so much to transform the healthcare delivery system in the state, adding that no purpose-driven government can talk about human capital development without a functional healthcare system.
Emmanuel expressed appreciation to the US and its development agencies for their vision to partner the state in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, promising to ensure that the state, and neighbouring communities which interface with the state in commercial activities, actively participate in the drive.
“As a border state in the coastal region, there is an influx of people from other states and countries into the state to transact in various opportunities like fishing and other ventures, so we will partner the US Government to meet this target you have set,” he said.
Earlier, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Symington, had lauded the governor for the high premium placed on healthcare delivery system and his efforts at transforming the secondary health centres to meet international standards.
He said the achievements of Emmanuel could be seen in the new improved healthcare delivery system, agriculture, industrialisation and educational development, which he said contributed to the re-election of the governor for the second term.
Symington said the visit which is his last as the ambassador to Nigeria was to intimate the government and people of the state of the US contributions to stem the HIV/AIDS pandemic and to provide necessary assistance to those who are infected through the provision of drugs, equipment and personnel to help humanity.
“All the amenities, the good roads, the new industries, and the schools I have seen would not be appreciated if the people are not healthy to make use of them,” the ambassador noted.
He therefore sued for collaboration to stem the tide of the HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, pledging his (US) government readiness to partner the state in education, healthcare, agriculture and commerce.