About 300 people including aged men, women and children on Monday benefited from a free healthcare initiative, offered by an NGO, the Coalition of Ibaji Youths (COIY), in Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Speaking at one of the venues, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of COIY, Mr Tony Edike, said the healthcare initiative was part of the organisation’s annual programme to extend love to the less privileged people during Christmas Swanson.
Edike explained that the organisation, which was collaborating with other groups and the government at all levels to facilitate the development of the area and improve the wellbeing of the people.
According to him, the medical outreach was conducted at Ibaji local government headquarters, Onyedega and Odogwu communities, while drugs worth thousands of naira were donated to Ejule Ojebe Health Centre.
He stressed that COIA embarked on the healthcare initiative to provide succour to rural dwellers who could not afford the cost of accessing medical care as well as to create awareness on the need to embrace good health habits.
”This medical initiative is the first of its kind in this area and will be sustained as part of our programmes to improve the living condition of the people.
”We commend all those who made this possible by donating drugs and other materials for the outreach.”
Edike decried the absence of basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity, functional health facilities, pipe-borne water in Ibaji LGA while appealing to both the Federal and State Governments to come to their aid.
“Ibaji which God has richly blessed and endowed with numerous natural resources including Oil and Gas, yet to be explored, has remained the most under-developed among the local government areas in Nigeria, lacking all the basic amenities that could have opened up the area for thriving economic activities and make life better for our people.
“Our story is pathetic, no roads, no electricity, no drinking water even when we are surrounded by rivers, our youths are jobless, no industry and no markets just as our farmers lack encouragement and support among other numerous challenges like the perennial flood disaster.
”We need urgent government intervention in this council as the burden is far beyond the capacity of the local government administration,” the BOT Chairman said.
The healthcare programme which was conducted by a team of medical experts led by Dr Victor Atokoma, witnessed medical examination of patients, dispensing of drugs and treatment of various ailments as well as counselling on good health habits.
Atokoma said that apart from those examined and treated of various ailments especially high blood pressure, hundreds of children and adults received de-worming drugs while sanitary pads were distributed to women.
Also speaking, COIY President, Mr Jerry Nwuchola, and a Trustee of COIY, Ambassador Tony Ogah, both called on relevant government authorities and agencies to address the infrastructural deficiencies in Ibaji LGA, saying Nigeria would gain a lot from the area.
They urged well-meaning indigenes of the area to think home and join hands with the organisation to assist the less privileged and empower the youths to engage in rewarding activities.
On his part, the Administrator of Ibaji Local government, Mr Williams Iko-Ojo, applauded leaders and members of COIY for the gesture and for their unrelenting efforts to draw attention to their peoples’ plights.
Iko-Ojo promised to continue championing the course of infrastructure development in Ibaji, assuring that he would approach relevant government agencies to seek ways of tackling numerous problems being faced by the people of the area.