The second address on COVID-19 pandemic by President Muhammadu Buhari is a repetition of earlier statements without adequate measures to alleviate the hardship Nigerians faces as a result of the dysfunctional policies and insufficient reasons and measure put in places for multiple lockdowns.
The earlier announced 14 days lockdown of Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states without adequate palliative measures from the Federal government has shown lack of empathy and proper understanding of the demographics prevalent in the country and not recognizing that majority of Nigerian are dependent on daily earnings.
As such, the objective of this administration to contain the spread of corona virus lacks commensurable efforts and has failed to understand the hardship and hunger people in the affected states suffers. The inadequate measures to ease the suffering of the people especially hunger, water, electricity and protection of the frontline officers in the fight against COVID-19 must be reviewed by the Federal government.
Nigerians as a people are peculiar and different fundamentally from peoples of other nations as such, the copycat orders of lockdowns put in place by countries such as Italy, America, UK, Saudi Arabia and India as emphasized by the president are incomparable to our realities. For those in the United States, the parliament have provided adequate and well distributed measures to enforce and obey these lockdowns but not in the case of the Nigerian government.
In the president’s speech, he talked about 2.6 millions receiving funds through the social register. It is important to understand that the social register was not designed for COVID-19 and is concerned with the smallest fraction of Nigerians. What then happens to the majority of Nigerians that where not captured in the social register?
The social register was not made Incase of Corona virus as such does not represent the true picture of those in need of government support in this trying times.
Furthermore, the president failed to address the issues relating to the killing of citizens by the army who were found searching for their daily means of survival. It is important that these lockdowns are not in anywhere directed for social safety of the people. We observed that incidences of armed robbery and other social vices have increased across cities in Nigeria and this is fairly associated with hunger and lack of adequate measure to reach all those concerned in the burning effects of these multiple lockdowns.
It is on these bases that as a matter of urgency to reducing the current hardship prevalent in Nigeria, that the Federal Government should direct the payments of funds through the use of BVN. Payments through this means will help in the redistribution of funds into individual accounts with zero physical contact which is the aim of social distancing.
We strongly suggest that more lockdowns should not be announced as living for over 30 days without proper feeding, healthcare and socialization may lead to further deaths and mental health crises.
And lastly, in the area of economy revamping as announced by the president, the committee should as quickly as possible convene to review the economic policies of the federal government with proper re-budgeting to meet our current realities. Capital expenditures must be suspended as more investment should be deployed in the area of both small scale and large scale businesses, investment in agriculture and food production to ensure food security and to establish multilateral relations with other African countries in a bid to source for revenue to survive through the pandemic.
Ibrahim Abubakar Ladaja