From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National President of the Nigeria Youth Union (NYU) Chinonso Obasi has been invited by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) alongside other youth leaders involved in the plan to disrupt official activities at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to explain why they want to shut down the airport in protest.
Youth groups, comprising of Nigeria Youth Union (NYU), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), National Association of Colleges of Education Students (NACES), Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Northern Youths Initaitive for Peace and Good Governance, have planned to disrupt activities at the airport on Wednesday to raise global awareness on the deplorable state of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in Nigeria but the DSS invitation has distorted the plan.
Organisers of the protest told Daily Sun that the planned shut down of the airport was because of the lukewarm attitude being shown by the relevant authorities, particularly the leadership of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) to their demand for a better and efficient PHCs in Nigeria.
Leader of the group and National President of NYU Chinonso Obasi confirmed to Daily Sun that he was invited by the DSS and he was expected to be at DSS headquarters on Wednesday morning in honor the invitation.
‘Our initial plan was to shut down the airport this morning (Wednesday) but that has been put on hold because of the DSS invitation. The meeting with DSS has been scheduled for this morning. Our next line of action will be communicated after our meeting with the DSS,’ he said.
‘Howbeit, we won’t relent until we see things change. Over 1,000 comrades are already in Abuja to participate in the planned which will help us register their discontent with the situation of public healthcare facilities in Nigeria, and we are determined to continue until we effect the needed changes so that Nigerians, mostly poor people at the rural areas can get basic health care services at the PHCs.’
He recalled that in February, hundreds of the youths shut down the headquarters of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) for few hours to protest poor state Nigeria’s health care system particularly the PHCs.
The youths took similar action and request to the headquarters of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) few weeks after, to also register their discontent with the deplorable state of PHCs in Nigeria.
Obasi said the decision to stage the peaceful protest was to drive home their message to the governors and local government Chairmen on the need to leverage on the COVID-19 pandemic to revive the PHCs which would be more beneficial to rural communities.
‘We have privileged information from the Federal Ministry of Health that the decision to revive the PHCs is on the governor and local government administration because the health is on the concurrent list,’ he said.
‘But we are deeply pained and grossly disenchanted that some state governors are totally dictating what happens at the local government level with particular emphasis on directly controlling and pocketing a great chunk of local government funds.’