From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Hundreds of youths under the umbrella of Nigerian Youth Union (NYU) and other coalitions on Thursday shut down the headquarters of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) for few hours to protest the poor state Nigeria’s healthcare system, particularly the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs).
The youths in their large numbers, armed with placards bearing different inscriptions barricaded the NGF office located at Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama, Abuja, in the morning hours denying staff and guests opportunities to access the offices for official engagements.
The 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 the state of PHCs in Nigeria.
He said the decision to stage the protest was to drive home their message to the governors on the need to leverage on the COVID-19 pandemic to achieve revival of the PHCs which would be more beneficial to rural communities.
‘We have privileged information from Federal Ministry of Health that revival of the PHCs is on the governors because the health is on the concurrent list. That was 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 the local government level with particular emphasis on directly controlling and pocketing a great chunk of local government funds.’
He reiterated the call on NGF to refrain from resisting the 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 would intensify efforts in various states to ensure that our cry is put into implementation.
‘In line to the above, 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.’