Albinism Group Calls For Investigation Over Fraudulent Skin Cancer Treatment In Abuja
Various Albinism groups across Nigeria have demanded full investigations into an alleged exploitative practices in the treatment of skin Cancer at the National Hospital, Abuja .
The group at a joint Press Briefing held in Ado-Ekiti decried the alleged brazen exploitation of the people living with Disabilities (PWDs) by some pseudo albinism platforms in Nigeria .
The briefing was anchored by Mrs Nnene Bassey, the President of Advocacy for Persons with Albinism, the cluster head for Persons with Albinism in JONAPWD Akwa Ibom State Nigeria and Comrade Muyiwa Abegunde Media Communicstion Lead(TANA),Albinism/Disabilities Inclusion Rights Advocate (West Africa).
Also in attendance were State Chairmen of the group ,including, Hon Femi Fagoriola ,Ayodele ,a board member, Agency for Persons Living With Disabilities and Chairman Albinism Matters Ondo State .
Specifically ,the stakeholders disclosed that the claim by the founder of The Albino Foundation (TAF).Jake Epele that over 5500 Albinos were treated of skin cancer at the hospital in question is untrue.
Refuting the various claims by Epele, the Albinos leaders clarified that their findings had revealed that less that 200 were treated for skin Cancer at the hospital.
The stakeholders therefore called on the Economic and Financial Crime and Commission (EFCC) and other anti grafts agencies to investigate the claims with a view to unraveling the truth.
They expressed concern that the propaganda was coming when the group was losing many members to skin cancer due to poor attention .
They maintained that the excuse given by Epele that all document containing information about the people he referred to the National Hospital were lost in transit left much to be desire .
According to TAF Press release on 13th March, 2022, Jake Epele said over N30 million was spent. We want to see the breakdown of the money because each PWA who went to National Hospital Abuja spent their own money.
“In TAF Websites, Jake Epele said “he conducted censors for PWA in 6 States and Abuja that PWA are 6million”. He now said again that “PWA’s are 4million still in his websites”. But on 17th March, 2022 at ABN TV Station he said that PWA are 1.3million.
“On March 23rd, 2022, TAF said “He lost their documents as the results of relocation? We want to know since the tenement wasn’t under conflagration how comes that TAF miss such Vital documents?
” Also on the 24th March, 2022 the CEO of the Albino Foundation said that the “Then Government of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had through the Ministry of Finance disbursed funds to 6 Geo-Political Zones designated hospitals in Nigeria especially National Hospital Abuja”.
“We want to know the names of the 6 designated hospitals, with the names, gender, States and Contact address with Phone Numbers of those PWA who were referred treated. Provide a comprehensive data of the Chief Medical Officers of each of the 6 Geo-political Zone Hospitals and their contact numbers.
” We need Jake to provide the accurate data of the 6million to 1.3million PWA and how did he arrive at those different figures? Again what was he given from different donors nationally and internationally for the said number of PWA in Nigeria?
” According to his websites, we need a concrete and tangible evidence of the said Sun Protection cream which Jake Epele said that “The N70 million given by the European Union was also to take care of that”. And did he set aside for the Sun Screen Production using Local or Natural Products?”
Earlier in his opening remarks, Comrade Abegunde warned that the stakeholders would not sit back and allow dubious individual or group to exploit the members .
He hinted that prevalence of skin cancer in Nigeria ranked amongst the highest in the world. “By implication people with albinism (PWA) in Nigeria represent one of the micro largest vulnerable groups in the country today due to their skin cancer and low vision. Despite their stated vulnerability and strength in number, and unlike other vulnerable groups in Nigeria, they least enjoy the same level of special attention.” he added .
Abegunde said ” gone are the days when unreliable organizations would be exploiting Nigeria Albinism Community for their personal aggrandizement, therefore The Albino foundation (TAF) Operate under the single leadership of Jake Epelle as NGOs should do the needful by publish the 5500 PWAs names out without further delay rather than his organization should be making a fallacy statement on Albinism Healthcare, economic empowerment, educational back to school program related Issues in the country.”
According to him ,”In Nigeria today numerous challenges continually confront thousands of people with albinism first as individuals and as a demographic group across the states including FCT, Albinism are classified amongst the vulnerable groups of the society, which includes people living with various kinds of physical disabilities. Such as skin cancer low vision etc
” The poverty and lack of education suffered by albinism does not stem from any mental or physical disability, but mostly as a result of discrimination, exploitation, social exclusion and stigma, and in some cases the human rights abuse they suffer as a result of their skin complexion
“The Albinism do not have the full social or economic tools to live productive lives. Lacking the confidence to compete favorably with others in the labor market and therefore unable to reach their full human potential. Both the individuals and the country suffer, as the vast majority of the skills of this group are not being utilized for the greater benefit of society.”Abegunde said.