From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
hundreds of youths, under the umbrella of Nigerian Youth Union (NYU), yesterday, shut down the headquarters of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) for few hours in protect over the poor state of Nigeria’s health care system, particularly Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs).
The youths armed with placards bearing different anti-health infrastructure inscriptions stormed the NGF office located at Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama, Abuja, in the early hours of yesterday denying staff and guests access to offices for official engagements.
Leader of the group and President of NYU, Chinonso Obasi said the protest followed the expiration of the ultimatum issued to the governors to improve conditions at PHCs in their states to respond to basic healthcare issues.
He said the decision to stage the peaceful protest was to drive home the message to the governors on the need to leverage on COVID-19 pandemic to revive PHCs so that they are more beneficial to patients in rural communities.
“We have privileged information from the Federal Ministry of Health that revival of PHCs is the duty of the governors because health is on the concurrent list. That is why we took the protest to NGF and Association of Local Government of Nigerian(ALGON). We are deeply pained and grossly disenchanted that some governors are totally dictating what happens at local government levels with particular emphasis on directly controlling and pocketing a great chunk of local government funds.”
He, however, reiterated the call on the governors to refrain from resisting efforts to build and equip more PHCs, particularly in the face of the current spike in COVID-19 cases and other mysterious ailments.
“Already the NGF is being perceived as anti-masses owing to the deliberate scuttling of crucial healthcare system projects.”
The Nigerian youths, students, and civil society groups would continue to resist the anti-people stand of stampeding access to healthcare at the local level. After the peaceful march, we will intensify efforts in various states to ensure that our cry is put into implementation.
“The leadership of NYU shall mobilise other youths and student’s organisations for a civil disobedience in the country if our demands are not appropriately addressed, which shall no doubt have an enormous effect on daily activities in the country,” he said.