The federal government has reportedly not refunded the £200,000 used in the treatment of the late former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme.
Ekwueme died in a London hospital in November 2017, at the age 85.
Prior to that, the federal government had undertaken to fund his medical treatment abroad. Upon his death, it also set up a committee to oversee his burial.
However, six months after, one of the persons involved in the events surrounding Ekwueme’s treatment and burial has said the family is yet to get the money it used in treating the late icon — a claim the federal government has denied.
Emmanuel Chukwuma, the archbishop of Enugu ecclesiastical province, Anglican communion, who is said to be a counselor to the family, told Daily Sun that the federal government “delayed” the payment, forwarding the money after the family had done so.
He also said the hospital had to return the money to the government but Ekwueme’s family is yet to get a refund, six months after.
“A lot of things are wrong in this administration … Right now, the money meant for Ekwueme’s treatment is not yet released,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
“The hospital has returned the money but government has refused to release it back to the family. Over 200,000 pounds and so on and so forth. They delayed in paying the medical bill of late Ekwueme until the family paid the bill to the London clinic.
“When the London clinic was paid by government after the family had paid, the hospital said the family had paid and returned the money to the Central Bank. Now, the money, which CBN should refund to Ekwueme’s family is now being held.
“This money has been signed out. Where is the medical bill refund released by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which was returned by London clinic? That is the question, where is it? It should be refunded to the family and if this doesn’t happen, I am going to speak more and this is going to cause serious scandal for the federal government.”
FG SAYS ‘NO TRUTH’ IN THE BISHOP’S CLAIMS
The newspaper said it was not able to get replies from both the CBN and Lai Mohammed, minister of information, regarding the matter.
But Chris Ngige, minister of labour, who was the deputy chairman of the committee that oversaw Ekwueme’s burial, was quoted as saying Chukwuma’s claims are false.
He also denied that the hospital bill was up to £200,000.
He reportedly told Daily Sun: “No truth in that at all … the bill was not up to that but FG picked the entire bill and other ancillary bills like air ambulance, casket, etc. I’m deputy chair of FG burial committee hence in a position to know.”