South west youth forum(SWYF) completely condemn the federal government pseudo palliative measures on Covid 19 to Nigerians, and calls for alternative measures to curb the spread of COVID 19 instead of total lockdown.
We also use this medium to call on all well meaning Nigerians to direct their palliatives and donations to people using the existing community structure rather than the federal government and state governments.
The outbreak of covid 19 has further exposed the level of short-sightedness of the present government. It will be recalled that in 2019, The World Poverty Clock revealed that 91,885,874 people in Nigeria now live in extreme poverty, instead of addressing this menace to avert its consequences on the populace, Nigeria government went ahead to budget 37 Billion for National Assembly to renovate the NASS complex that was constructed at a cost of N10.7 billion ahead of the return to democracy in 1999. Statistics from World Poverty Programme (WFP) states “The country’s human development indicators are poor.
Persistent poverty affects more than half the population. In addition, Nigeria is also subject to periodic droughts and floods; this has had an adverse impact on agricultural output and increased the vulnerability of populations, especially in rural areas. Around 110 million Nigerians, representing over 60 percent of the total population, live below the poverty line. According to minister for labour and productivity – Sen. Chris Ngige, The Nigeria unemployment rate will reach 33.5 per cent by 2020. Nigeria’s informal economy accounts for 65% of GDP – IMF.
With all these and many more statistical tools that can be used to redirect the economy on the path of growth, our leaders are busy sharing the proceeds from oil while asking for prayer and support from the masses. With outbreak of convid 19, one expects palliative measure to be directed to vast Nigerians, especially those in the informal sectors of the economy that live on daily income but, the revised is the case. Instead the government decided to add more salts to injury of majority of Nigerians by declaring Lockdown.
What is the justification for total Locked down and partial palliatives? Do Nigerians need microscope to verify the beneficiaries of the palliatives even in 21st century? As youth representatives, we humbly want to make these assertions and demands:
1. That a good government must listen and empathize for her citizens, know their plight and suffering. But Nigeria government is blind to reality and key statistics in the country.
2. That majority of Nigerians affected by the LOCKDOWN are people in informal sector, who live by daily earnings.
3. That it is high insensitivity and act of deliberate incognito to keep locking down the poor masses that are already living below poverty line even with their daily wages without concrete palliative approach. We demand that Nigeria Government should stop treating Nigerians like dogs with palliatives that cannot sustain a family for day. Imagine Federal government distributing spoilt rice to her citizens.
4. Nigeria Governments should know that “Angry” is the firstborn of “Hunger”. The reality is that the masses are fast loosing trust in government in Nigeria. .
5. That politics and nepotism should be jettisoned at this crucial period. It is observed that most state government’s mockery palliatives are done within political party affiliation, a norm that is inimical to the spirit of good Governance.
1. We demand that if government wants to continue with lockdown (either total or partial), that palliatives must commensurate with the number of days and at least 2 dollars per day. We should emulate good things from western countries.
2. We also demand for pay cut from political appointees that is earning above salary of level 16 officials in the country. The excesses in their salary should be redirected to the masses.
3. Considering the peculiar population nature of Lagos, with 89 % of the working class in the informal sector. We demand that instead of total lockdown, government should embark on partial lockdown in Lagos.
The honest truth is that a government that has abandoned its people to their fate in abject life of penury, hopelessness and environmental archaism for many, many years cannot just lock-up her citizens to hunger. A government that has no savings to cuisine the effect of economic shock for just Six Months, should reason how to sustain the populace against hunger.
We urge the Government at all levels in Nigeria to stop politicizing the welfare of Nigerians in order to avert the consequences’ associated with food riots. While we also call on “well to do” and plutocrats in the south west to rise in this time of needs for their people. In the last few weeks Covid 19 infested above 1000 people, but hunger has destroyed over 10,000,000 households.
National secretary Foluso Ajimuda
Engr Biola OttunCoker