The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has revoked an agreement allowing medical students from Igbinedion University, Okada, to undergo training at the state’s specialist hospitals.
The government terminated the contract over a N350 million debt, the state Commissioner for Information, Louis Odion, said Tuesday in Benin.
Mr. Odion said the university had not paid anything to the government since a Memorandum of Understanding for the training of the students was signed on September 1, 2006.
“In view of the failure of the management of the Igbinedion University to honour the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, entered into with the state government, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has approved the termination of same with immediate effect,” Mr. Odion said.
The MoU was signed during the Lucky Igbinedion administration to enable the university use the state-owned Central Hospital, Benin and Stella Obasanjo Hospital to train its medical students.
The former governor’s father, Gabriel Igbinedion, is the founder of the university named after himself.
The agreement was part of the condition by the Nigerian University Commission, NUC, and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, MDCN, to grant accreditation to the university to train medical students in clinical specialties.
Under it, the Igbinedion University was to pay annual levy to the Edo State Government for the use of the two tertiary health facilities for which they charged their students commercial fees.
However, upon assumption of office in 2008, the Commissioner for Information said Mr. Oshiomhole found that not only had the terms of MOU been violated, but the university did not pay any money to the state government long after the agreement was signed.
“While the MOU in question enabled the Igbinedion University exclusive use of the facilities at the state-owned Central Hospital and Stella Obasanjo Hospital together with our highly skilled personnel /specialists paid by Edo taxpayers, the state-owned Ambrose Alli University was denied accreditation for medical course by NUC and MDCN for lack of a teaching hospital,” said Mr. Odion.
“In the circumstance, Ambrose Alli University practically became an orphan and had to depend on the generosity of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and later the University of Jos Teaching Hospital and finally the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital for the sustenance of its own medical course.”
Mr. Odion said the state ministry of health had reviewed the annual fees for the use of the facilities and also invited the university management to settle its outstanding liabilities to the government.
But he said, the university wrote back and offered to pay only N50, 000 per month, a proposal the government turned down.
The commissioner said efforts to get the university’s management to pay the accumulated debt and also agree to an upward review of the annual charge, proved abortive.
“In the circumstance, the government is left with no other option than to terminate the MOU in public interest.
“The ministry of health has equally been directed to inform the NUC and the MDCN that the Benin Central Hospital and Stella Obasanjo Hospital will no longer be made available for the use of the medical students of Igbinedion University,” Mr. Odion.