COVID-19 Lockdown: Nigerians turn to begging for survival

Posted by News Express | 20 April 2020 | 3,786 times

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•Humanitarian Affairs Minister Sadia Umar Farouq


With the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown taking heavy toll on Nigerians, especially as majority of the citizens live on daily wage for survival, the situation appears to have taken a negative turn.

In Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja where the restriction order is total, residents that cannot find what to eat have taken to begging to survive.

A trip around Lagos shows men and woman lurking around street corners looking for who will ‘dash’ them money to eat.

One the ‘emergency beggars; told this reporter: “l just need money to buy food to survive. I left home because my family has not eaten since morning. I go out every day to look for what me and my family will eat but with this lockdown, there is trouble. So please help me out before I collapse.”

Another beggar, this time a woman, told the reporter that she has suddenly seen the reason why some women go into prostitution even against their will. “I have been calling those I know since morning to help me out but all in vain. The only thing left for me now is to use what I have to get what to eat. I don’t have a husband and my children have been without food since yesterday.”

One of ‘overnight beggars’ around Ojodu Berger area of Lagos was very bitter with the government. “See me, a graduate. I have been trying to get a job for two years now but no way. Now this is where we are. I have been moving around looking for who will help me with something to survive. It will never be well with this government,” he lashed out.

While the Federal Government promised some palliatives to help citizens cushion the effect of the pandemic, the whole exercise is enmeshed in controversy, non-transparency and selective distribution.

Reports showed that Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, distributed relief materials of 3kg bag of rice, cassava flakes, beans and two tomato pastes to the elderly and the most vulnerable persons in the state. The distribution of the stimulus package was targeted at 200,000 people, even amid criticism that the exercise was segmented and made an All Progressive Party (APC) affair.

Popular Nigerian singer Simisola Ogunleye simply known and addressed as Simi, recently took to her official Twitter handle to lament why Nigerians have to beg the government for everything all the time.

Meanwhile in his recent broadcast, President Muhammadu Buhari was emphatic that the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic was no joke. While likening it to a battle for people to stay alive, the President called for sacrifice from the citizenry. This is notwithstanding the fact that already, many Nigerians are complaining bitterly over the excruciating pain and hunger afflicted on them by the strident measures, including lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, Abuja, designed to stave off the pandemic from the shores of Nigeria.

Whereas many homes that could afford the luxury of stockpiling staple foods following prior notice about the series of measures that were to be taken, such items have largely dried up, just as the people have become cash trapped due to pressing daily demands, with no end in sight of the general restriction of movements. Thus, the cry for palliatives by millions of the people has assumed a feverish tempo.

The Senator representing Borno South senatorial district in the National Assembly, one of those who has expressed misgivings over the distribution of the palliatives said on Wednesday that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadia Umar Farouq, has not been transparent in her management and disbursement of the palliative to mitigate the suffering of poor Nigerians over the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking with newsmen in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, called on President Buhari to dissolve the Palliatives Measures Committee and give it to a separate team that would diligently liaise with the 36 states governors.

He said: “My concern is the manner and the way the COVID-19 palliative measures provided by the President is being handled or executed. We have received numerous complaints and it is actually very unfortunate.”

Source: News Express

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