The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has been given a seven-day ultimatum by different youth groups, notably the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the Nigerian Youths Union (NYU), the National Youth Council of Nigeria(NYCN), among several others, to revive the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) across the states ready to respond to basic health care issues.
The youth groups threatened to take unfriendly actions against the governors including a nationwide protest that could disrupt socioeconomic activities if they fail to take concrete actions on the matter.
NYU National President Chinonso Obasi, who addressed journalists in Abuja, on behalf of the groups, on Wednesday, bemoaned the deplorable state of PHCs in Nigeria which has resulted in the loss of lives due to minor ailments that could be easily treated.
‘With the privileged information available to us from Federal Ministry of Health, it’s our resolve to take our protest to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum(NGF) and Association of Local Government of Nigerian (ALGON).
‘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.
‘From all indications, these Governors have never been comfortable with the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to provide basic health care services at the local/community levels, and have presently constituted a stumbling block to the process which hitherto had taken off.
‘The result is the decadent state of rural health infrastructures in local communities. Regrettably, the masses are at the receiving end as the power tussle for unbridled and unconstitutional control of local government funds rage on.
‘Health care is too important to be subject of needless control tussle and we shall therefore proceed to bear our clear pains for the needful to be done by the NGF and ALGON.’
He called on NGF to refrain from resisting the efforts to build and equip PHCs particularly in the face of the current spike in COVID-19 cases and other mysterious ailments. Already, he added, the NGF is being perceived as anti-masses owing to the deliberate scuttling of crucial health care system projects.
‘Therefore, Nigerian youths, students, and civil society groups would continue to resist the anti-people stand of stampeding access to healthcare at the local level. In the next seven days, we shall mobilize our members to press home our demands to the NGF and ALGON,’ he said.
By Fred Ezeh,