Harsh living conditions in Nigeria have now put life expectancy at 54 years, the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGMPN) has said.
The association rated countries like Togo, Ghana and South Africa ahead of Nigeria in the expectancy.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, the President of the association, Dr Iyke Odo, said anyone who beats the age would have broken the jinx.
He, however, said that respite was underway if the government and all the stakeholders can come together to reinvent the healthcare sector.
Odo regretted the backwardness and infrastructural dilapidation in the country, saying that hitherto, Ghanaians, Saudi Arabians and Indians had Nigeria as their destination for healthcare deliveries.
He said, “Anywhere you go in the world, statistics, indices show that Nigeria has one of the lowest life expectancy rates. What does that mean? On the average, how long are you expected to live as a Nigerian given the life support, welfare system available, the quality of life, cost of living, given the leadership, environment and all that around an average Nigerian? You are expected to live for 54 years.
“And if you are more than 54, it means you have broken the jinx. You have defied Nigeria to survive more than it expects you to survive or live. Togo here has a higher life expectancy. Ghana has much higher life expectancy. Go down to South Africa, much higher. It is a burden to us as doctors.
“Take that away, maternal mortality rate, infant mortality rate, Nigeria has about the highest in the world. It is a scourge, a big dent on our collective psyche and pride as a nation. It means that more women in pregnancy die in Nigeria than they do in most part of the world. It also shows that more children under the age of 5 die in Nigeria than they do in most part of the world.
“Nigeria was ahead of India many years ago. Indians were coming to Nigeria for their healthcare. Saudi Arabia had Nigeria as a destination. The king of Saudi was coming to Ibadan with his family for treatment in the 70s. History is straight. Ghanaians, South Africans, Indians were coming here. So, what has happened? Like in any race, if the man in front gets tired sooner than he should or stumbles and falls, the competitors behind, naturally, will cruise past him. I think this is what has happened.
“Over N500billion is spent abroad by Nigerians who go abroad for treatment and go for treatment that should be given here. We have lost confidence and trust in our local care delivery.”
Odo also bemoaned the sorry state of healthcare system in Nigeria, saying that many Nigerian doctors were frustrated, a sad development he said, was pushing them to leave Nigeria in search of greener pastures.
He said, “Doctors are shutting down. Some are selling their clinics and leaving this country. It is a challenge we must all rise to as a nation. We do not have enough doctors. The few we have are leaving in droves.
“If you Interview 10 Nigerian doctors as we speak, 6 will tell you they are still because they have not found visa. It is a calamity indeed. It is the biggest disease we have now because, by the way we are going, soon, we may have to import doctors to treat Nigerians. Things are getting bad. We must act fast.
“Why are Nigerian doctors going abroad? Is it because there are no patients in Nigeria? No. There are too many here in Nigeria. We weep in our hearts because those of us who are remaining behind are overburdened. There is too much work to be done because we are working too hard with bare hand. Society changes every day and every generation meets its own challenges with its peculiar available means of serving them.
“Medicine today is not what it was 50 years ago. Now, you can sit in your house in Abuja and perform and operation on somebody in Lagos by robotics. Telemedicine has come to stay. Now, you can stay in your consulting room, watching the screen of your computer and see a patient 2000 miles away, take the history and examine him or her and do your prescription. The difference between the Nigerian doctor and his counterpart abroad is nothing more than technology. The Nigerian doctor is better trained because what you lack in equipment, you acquire in skill and physical competency.
“Nigerians go abroad and they rule and dominate. They are the best hands because they work with the skill, competency and technology. We know where the difference is. And that’s why we will continue to preach to the government to provide to not only provide this infrastructure but to support the private sector to transform the healthcare delivery system”.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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