Opinion: Lockdown: Growing concerns over excruciating hunger in Nigeria
By Dr Moses George
The advent of the coronavirus across the world has compelled several governments to take all kinds of measures to curb the spread of the deadly virus, and to provide health care for those who have been infected.
Here in Nigeria, the Federal and state governments have also taken similar measures.
To curtail the spread of this deadly virus, Nigerians have been instructed to stay at home.
To most Nigerians, this directive almost sounded like a death sentence, especially for those who have no savings, or rely on daily earnings for their survival. Since the commencement of the lock down, Nigerians in several cities and towns have continued to vent their frustrations and anger as the situation has created unprecedented hardship and agony in their lives.
There is a general fear in the air that several people may die of hunger as food supply is fast depreciating in most homes. The situation is hopeless as most people do not have funds to replenish their food supplies, and no significant assistance seem to be anywhere in sight.
The Federal and state governments’ pledge to provide various social palliatives appear to be a child’s play. While there are reports that government officials have been sharing between N5000 — N20,000 to vulnerable Nigerians in parts of the country, investigations by CAPITAL POST reveal that the entire process is ineffective and shrouded by corruption.
As a matter of fact, most Nigerians are yet to receive any form of assistance from the authorities. It is even more annoying when one hears of claims by officials that billions of naira has already been expended as palliatives when most people have not gotten a dime!.
Investigations show that while most Nigerians are in support of the lockdown as an appropriate measure for fighting the spread of the novel covid -19 pandemic, they are very disillusioned and angry about the inability of the authorities to initiate meaningful policies or programmes that will alleviate their present plights. That, most Nigerians are living from ‘hand to mouth’ is putting the situation mildly. Nigerians are practically starving!
Apparently, authorities in Nigeria are either bereft of ideas or lack the political will on how to tackle the emerging crisis that has been caused by the sit – at – home measure. While it is true that Nigerians are very patient people, such virtue should not be taken for granted because there is a limit to human endurance.
If nothing meaningful is done by government to address this dreadful situation, soon Nigerians will get really hungry and any slight spark could blossom into a full blown social conflagration that may wreak unparalleled havoc on the country.
Government should be mindful that some unpatriotic people who are eager to cause crisis or want the country to disintegrate could take advantage of the present ravaging hunger in Nigeria to achieve their evil motives.
To avert any unpalatable fallout from this situation, federal and state governments should as a matter of utmost urgency take immediate action to assist its citizens by using their BVN to credit the bank accounts of Nigerians. With immediate effect, government should also initiate an effective process of reaching – out with cash to assist those who do not have bank accounts.
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