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By Donu Kogbara

CONGRATULATIONS to President  Umaru Yar’Adua for having the humility to meet and greet the Niger Delta militant leaders who have agreed to lay down their arms and disband private militias that have caused so much socio-economic disruption.

Congrats also to the tough warlords of the creeks for giving peace a chance…and for reminding the world that natives of oil-producing areas are not total mu-mus.

Many people – both here and internationally – have told me that they are very sceptical about this amnesty for various reasons. Some folks even believe that the President is only reaching out to the militants because the PDP (allegedly) cannot win the next election without the grassroots support that militants can provide.

I have decided to ignore such cynical theories and to assume that the amnesty marks the beginning of a brand new era in which Niger Deltans, the owners of this nation’s main resource, will finally receive the justice and respect that we deserve and never again feel obliged to complain or rebel. Let us wait and see and pray.

Readers  reactions
Those who regularly peruse the Sweet And Sour page will know that I sometimes dedicate all or part of this space to readers’ opinions. Here are some of the responses I received after I bitterly complained, last week, about the fact that my cousin and an in-law recently died because of ill-trained Nigerian doctors and the government’s disgraceful failure to provide us with a proper healthcare system

Ben Udechukwu,
Please, accept my heartfelt condolences on the death of your family members owing to Nigeria’s scandalously inadequate healthcare system. My elder sister died of renal failure because there was no functional dialysis centre at the time in the whole of Abia State…and because reckless doctors denied her early detection of the ailment. This was just three years ago. I doubt if the situation has changed.

An elderly woman who had a toothache was told here that removing the painful tooth was the only remedy. Her children in the US pleaded with her to endure until she visited them. Reluctantly she did. On arrival in the US, the dentists there were amazed when they heard that Nigerian dentists had told her that pulling the tooth was necessary, given that she had a very minor problem that could easily be solved by routine medication. The old woman was shocked and recollected that her late husband and a whole lot of others who had died in Nigeria were ‘killed’ by doctors.

I do not know whether the dearth of medical facilities or the incompetence of so many of our doctors is more responsible for the many ‘untimely deaths’ in Nigeria. Let us say that it’s a combination of both because even in teaching hospitals, cooking stoves are used as incubators…while doctors always seem to diagnose malaria, typhoid and hepatitis if you complain of fever or headache.

If we cannot reform our health system, let us reform our criminal justice system so that negligent Nigerian doctors can find their way to jail. At least in death, Stella Obasanjo got justice for her Spanish doctor’s incompetence. Let us build more prisons, furnished so that Nigerian doctors will learn to be more careful.

Kehinde oduniyi <>

I sympathies will you and a host of other Nigerian families that have had the misfortune of losing loved ones as a result of the wicked and uncalled-for lack  of medical wisdom. When shall we start to enjoy the benefits that are enjoyed by citizens of more serious and people- loving environments?
What insensitive and God-forsaking leaders we have! May God help us. Forty nine years after independence, one would think that Nigeria would have acquired grandfather status in the provision of state-of-the-art healthcare facilities that people from other countries can patronise. Given the petrodollar windfalls that God has blessed us with, we have no business killing our own needlessly. The blood of those who have been wasted on the turf of corruption by our so called leaders, past and present, is still crying out for justice.

What stops the government from building, in every state of the Federation, two super-equipped hospitals that can be managed by exposed and well-meaning indigenes or foreigners? President Yar’Adua, it is time to get your act together and do something about healthcare in this country. Arise o compatriots……

Text  Messages:
Musa, Scientist, Kaduna
Your 2nd Oct column made interesting reading. It is a known fact that Nigeria is a failed state. Recertification of almost all of the so-called new generation professionals is highly needed. But the big question here is where will the training take place and who will certify that the training is devoid of the normal Nigerian practices that produced the half-baked professionals in the 1st place?!

Our graduates are nothing but former class seven pupils! Nigeria is in a state of serious confusion. It will be a Herculean task to say who will not misbehave. Nigerians need a total overhaul if we are to move forward as a nation. The future is gloomy unless we honestly and urgently salvage the situation we are in now. Corruption, indiscipline, cultism, nepotism, etc, are the norms in Nigeria!

DK, you have just repeated what’s been said since 1960! Thence to date, all our leaders/rulers have cured their sore toes abroad! Forget. God dey for us all.

Sorry for your loss. As a doctor, I must tell you that the government and its scam policies are the reason why too many good doctors have been allowed to leave this country. We have no facilities to work with. Another factor is fake drugs.  I can go on and on. We are doomed.

Sadly, our thieving policy-makers do not care about bad hospitals or bad doctors because their leprosy-infested hands loot our collective patrimony for private uses. Sorry for the avoidable deaths of your relatives. May you find strength to bear this pain.

Mr President is in the best position to appreciate a functional national healthcare system here than in Saudi Arabia. Condolences for your dead relatives.

Donu thanks for your comment on the state of healthcare in Nigeria. Our leaders are wicked.That is why they don’t care about the masses. God will judge them.

Responses to: or 08027476458 (text only)

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