Monday, November 3, 2014 9:44 pm
By Femi Ipaye/Abuja
Nigeria may have run out drugs for HIV?AIDS patients in the country.
Indications about this came to light today in Abuja as hundreds of HIV/AIDS positive patients besieged the Abuja office of the National Agency for Control of Aids, NACA on Monday to protest lack of access to antiretroviral drugs in hospitals and other care centres across the country.
The protesters grouped under the aegis of Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS are also protesting about diminishing funding for HIV/AIDS programmes by international development partners as well as non-implementation of the Comprehensive Response Plan, a scheme launched by President Jonathan address the problems of access to antiretroviral drugs.
The protesters caught the staff of NACA unawares as they had invaded the NACA office before the official resumption hours early this morning.
The protesters carried placards and some sleeping materials, indicating that they were determined to stay in the NACA office as long as necessary.
They took over the main entrance to the office of Professor John Doko, the Director-General, of NACA, thereby stopping him and the other workers from entering their offices.
Sumaila Garba who spoke to journalists on behalf of the protesters said they are determined lock up NACA office for 25 days. According to him, the group want government to come out with specific plan for the funding of antiretroviral drugs which he said lives of members of the group depends on.
He also said there should be transparency in the disbursements of funds already set aside for the purchase of HIV/AIDS drugs by government to prevent corruption.
Sumaila said his group had met many times with the DG of NACA without receiving any concrete assurance on the issues before it embarked on Monday’s protest.
“We met with the DG on Friday. Our plan was that anytime they are planning anything for us, they should plan with us. We have met with the DG severally,” he told PM NEWS.
However, Prof. Idoko was appealed to the protesters that their grievances are already being looked into.
But the protesters have refused to bulge as at the time of writing this story as they have vowed to remain at the NACA office until there is a concrete response to their demands.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the DG of NACA had left for the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to confer with him over the issue.