Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has said Nigerians can sue their governments for failure to provide adequate healthcare delivery.
He said governments in Nigeria are failing in providing health and security for their citizens. He described the two as inalienable rights of Nigerians.
According to the rights activist, the Federal Government should henceforth pay the ransom demanded by kidnappers for the release of Nigerians abducted which he said was brought about by failure to secure their lives.
Falana spoke on Thursday a lecture he delivered at the public presentation of a book on “Financing Universal Health Coverage in Nigeria” held at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD). The book is written by Dr. Olaofe Ogundipe.
Falana in his lecture titled: “The Justiciability of Health as a Human Right” insisted that federal and state governments can fund healthcare for all citizens of the country.
He argued that Section 17 of the Constitution and National Health Act 2014 made it a matter of imperative for government to foot the medical bills of poor Nigerians, regretting that these are not being implemented.
He said: “I know the defenders of the status quo are going to say that the federal and state governments cannot afford to fund healthcare for all citizens.
“My answer is that the governments can, if they are prepared to make healthcare for all citizens a priority. This has been demonstrated by Cuba which has for over 50 years funded free healthcare for all her citizens.
“That country which is ahead of many developed countries in the area of medical services has no oil, gold or diamond.
“Since it may be argued that the population of Cuba is only 12 million; what of China which has guaranteed affordable healthcare for the teeming population of 1.4 billion people.
“If we do not want to follow the example of Cuba and China, we can borrow a leaf from other countries which have extended medical services to the poor and disadvantaged people by opting for medical insurance.
“The federal government has already opted for the latter and has enacted the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Act. Our duty is to make the law work in the overall interest of the masses of our people.”
On kidnapping, he said: “Let me say, if I am kidnapped today and I pay ransom to secure my freedom, I will surely take FG to court to refund my money because it is the responsibility of government to secure my life.”