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COVID-9 and Humanitarian Minister’s overtures: SERAP goofed

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By Abubakar Yusuf

In Nigeria history overtime, during crises, both human and natural phenomenon, records have not shown government desire to dole out succour to the massess to mitigate the effects of the situation, with particular reference to the global Health emergency of COVID-19.

We have had the experience of the damaging effects of Yellow fever, Ebola scourge and others that ravaged Nigeria, that no Goverment in the previous dispensation has provided any form of intervention, to mitigate the effects on the lives of Nigerian citizens.

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Aside corporate intervention to relief the economy and the production sectors of the country, Governments from independence, untill the current dispensation, never thought out a plan to bring to the table the idea of bringing basic necessities of life to the downtrodden in the society, affected by the ravaging global pandemic like COVID-19, that triggered a total lockdown of all movements and critical sectors of our economy. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

But in the current order, intitiaves of the current administration championed by the Humanitatian Affairs, Social Development and Disaster Management, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk had paid off to every average Nigerian homes, that saved to a great deal, the likely Humanitatian crises that would have arose from the effects of the scourge, and the needed decisions of Goverment actions.

This decision to carry out a wholistic measure of distribution of essential items like rice, garri, corn, and other essentials across the country, including areas ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents, cattle rustling, banditry, kidnapping and all forms of social vices, deserve commendation to the position of self installed Civil Society Organisation like Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Projects (SERAP), that juxtapose the expectations of the generalty of the masses, both in Nigeria and world over.

The Non-Governmental Organisation, prominently known for its struggle to equate the widen gap between the poor and the rich, opportuned and the unopportuned, priviledge and the less priviledge in the society, was overriden by mere observation without in-depth knowledge of the generally acceptable and embraced programme of distribution of palliatives, across the country by the Humanitatian Affairs Ministry.

SERAP’s disapproval of the generally acceptable programmes of palliatives by the Humanitatian Affairs Ministry is anti people and has sent a wrong signals to average Nigerians, and the general public that, the once credible humanitarian body, had being overriden by inordinate decisions, not against the actors that ensured crises free environment during the health emergency and possible lockdown, but against the massess they have used as an emblem to represent.

Its decision to approach the court was anti people, unpopular, unacceptable, needless and counter productive and a departure from the position of the people of Nigeria, who have already expressed satisfaction with the house to house, area to area, town to town, village to village, local government to local government and states to states distribution of the goverment palliatives to Nigerians.

This decision was already subject of discussion and encouragement from many prominent Civil Society Organisations, Corporate bodies and well meaning Nigerians to the new style and generally acceptable leadership intitiaves, piloted by the Minister, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk in the new Ministry.

Government at all levels are excited by the popular decision under the Ministry to address the possible humanitatian, food and drought crises, that would have metamorphosed into any unforeseen developement across the country.

SERAP’s decision to engage the Ministry was a mere distraction and effort in futility as notable NGO’s like CALSER and CRW among many others had pat the Minister’s decision and wisdom to embark on the generally acceptable and transparent programmes, beneficial to many ordinary Nigerians.

No doubt, SERAP’s campaign of calumny in the guise of accountability and transparency had attracted a lot of condemnation, as well as an encouragement to a more people oriented programmes by the new Ministry.

It is high time, Non-Governmental and Civil Society Groups redesign their programmes that will genuinely bring on board policies and programmes that will protect the welfare of ordinary Nigerians.

For Sadiya Umar-Farouk, Humanitatian, it should be accolades, for her singular effort that addressed the one month total lockdown, the current period of eased lockdown, and post COVID-19 era in Nigeria.

Abubakar Yusuf, a Media Consultant, writes from Abuja.

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