The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said the post of surgeon-general can only be created by the legislature at the federal level.
He said this in an interview, on the sidelines of the West African College of Surgeons secretariat foundation-laying ceremony in Lagos. He was asked to respond to one of 24 demands made by the Nigerian Medical Association, which embarked on a nationwide strike on July 1, 2014.
According to item seven on the association’s list of demands, a Surgeon-General of the Federation must be appointed with immediate effect.
But the minister said the position was for technical purposes and could only be appointed by the National Assembly.
He said, “The position of surgeon-general does not necessarily mean it will be for a surgeon. It’s going to be a technical position; someone who is not a political appointee can address technical issues about medicine in the health sector.
“So that one is something that I think the whole country will decide, either through constitutional amendment or the National Assembly making the appropriate law.”
The NMA’s demands were contained in an open letter addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.