CURFEW IN STATES: Nigerians react, demand palliatives

Worried by the impending hardships citizens may encounter following the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant restriction of movements by government, some Nigerians on Monday, have urged the provision of palliative measures.

They said that these measures should include the provison of food and basic welfare packages for Nigerians which will serve as relief whilst they comply with government directives.

Based on the advice of the Federal Ministry of Health, President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun, for 14 days with effect from 11p.m.on March 30.

The President also directed that all citizens in these areas are to stay in their homes, adding that travels to or from other states should be postponed, while all businesses and offices within these locations should be fully closed during this period.

Government said it will use this containment period to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Speaking in reaction to government’s directive, Chairperson of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Lagos branch, Mrs Philomena Nneji, commended the directive of government, but urged adequate palliative measures.

“Our revered organization is very passionate about women and children as well as other vulnerable indigent members of our society.

“I commend the roburst action and immense efforts of Government to tackle the spread of the outbreak of Covid-19; this requires a pragmatic approach to save lives.

“The indigent and the vulnerable should be given priority; areas in Lagos like Ajegunle, Oshodi, Mushin, Alaba and other areas with teaming population should get food stuff and care first.

“Members of our society should not be script about the lock down so as to curtail this precarious situation through social distancing and hygiene,”

Nneji urged the need for strategic communication and enlightenment.

A Lagos social critic, Mr Spurgeon Ataene said that although the shut down has come a little too late, it is a painful yet commendable step.

He urged those who had contact with returnees from abroad to cooperate with government in curtailing the spread of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Ataene, urged government to do a palliative for the vulnerable,old and very poor of the society.

“They should also generally intervene to mitigate hardship that may be faced by Nigerians after the first 3 days of the lockdown.

” The earnings of most Nigerians would not be enough to buy enough essentials that would last 2weeks; therefore I suggest that food and drugs should be subsidized and brought close to neighbourhoods for easy access.

“Government should intervene in respect of housing as some landlords may insist on payments of their rents; while they need their rents they should be humane enough to allow time for this drastic time to be over,” he said

In the same vein, Chairman of the Ikorodu Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr Bayo Akinlade, believes that the lock down of these states may not yield the desired result if there are no plalative measures to serve as reliefs to citizens.

” Right now, I am on my way out, and I can tell you that there is huge traffic in Ikorodu; how do you expect to stop people from going out to find their daily bread; it will be difficult.

“This is because everyone is going out to search for food for their families! first, how can people be made to stay home without salaries, food or welfare.

“How can citizens stock up food in their homes as advised, without money; with which funds are they expected to do this.

“The market prices of food items have now rapidly increased; A bag of garri that formely sells for between N5000 to N6000 is now N9,500. so how do one expect people to make up for the difference,” he said

According to Akinlade, government can ensure an effective compliance with the curfew, if reliefs are made available to Nigerians.

On her part, an Abuja based Microbiologist, Mrs Adaobi Ezikeoha, while commending government for the initiative to help combat spread of the virus, ssuggested that government could help alleviate the plight of citizens, by creating a welfare purse specifically for citizens.

According to her, it will be very difficult for families who thrive on daily income to manage under this lock down situation.

She, therefore, urged government to come to the rescue as a matter of urgency, by helping to distribute welfare packages to Nigerians.

On her part, Mrs Mercy Obiora , Ogun State Coordinator of the African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA), also believes that government can help ensure a compliance with movement restrictions, by providing support to citizens.

She said that just as there has been the distribution of food items in Lagos, there is yet to be such measures in Ogun state.

Obiora urged government to make palliatives available to Nigerians so as to help mitigate any impending hardships.

Again, an Ogun State resident, Mrs Chinelo Nonyelu-Olayanju underscored the need for citizens to stock up their homes with basic items during the period, and also urged govenrment to come to the rescue.

“Citizens should be able to stock their houses with dry foodstuffs like Rice, Beans, Garri, Yam, Spaghetti, Macaroni, Indomie, Flour, etc, especially for those with children.

“I believe that on or before the end of the 14 days total lockdown, God will show forth His mighty power by bringing Corona Virus to an end.,” she said

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