These white clad ladies and gentlemen are often not the kind of people, Nigerians want to see on the street. They are usually seen along the corridors of hospitals and clinics and at the bedside of patients; not on the streets.
However, there was pandemonium at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Abuja on Thursday 23rd February, as nurses numbering over 200 staged a protest over alleged bad practices in the nation’s health sector.
The protesters under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives demanded, among other things, a forensic review of the activities of the Health Ministry to restore sanity in the system.
The protesters included nurses in federal teaching hospitals, federal medical centres and federal specialist hospitals in the country.
Shortly after the protest commenced, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, arrived his office but the nurses attempted to stop him from entering the building.
But their plan was resisted by security operatives who hurriedly whisked him away from the vicinity.
The leader of the protesters and chairman, NANNW (Federal Health Institutions Sector), Wale Olatunde, called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Commission to beam their searchlight on the health sector “as was the case with the Nigerian judges on the bench.”
He said the anti-corruption agencies should probe how budgetary allocations and internally-generated revenues were expended.
He said, “Individuals who benefit from incessant crisis in the health sector should not be allowed to continue to hold the health sector and the good people of this country to ransom. A ministry that could harbour fake doctor for eight years and who incidentally was a leading figure in the fight against Ebola Virus Disease and other hemorrhage fevers calls for a forensic review of their activities.”
Earlier on February 6th, reports came in that a protest to demand good governance and an urgent explanation for the country’s economic downturn kicks off today simultaneously in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and other major cities across the country.
The decision to stage the process has been met with stiff opposition by the police who, repeatedly, told the organisers to call off their planned action.
Popular musician, 2Face Idibia, who was billed to lead the protest in Lagos, opted out at the eleventh hour citing security concerns.
In Lagos, the protesters are expected to march from National Stadium in Surulere to the National Theatre, Iganmu, a distance of about four kilometres.
More and more, the low tolerance for ineptitude, poor governance and corruption is on the high, the reason for so many protests against government and the establishment.
Author: Tubonemi – Nigeria
source photo: bbc