The National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, on Thursday warned the states and Federal Government that the planned lockdown on Nigerians to curb the spread of Coronavirus would only inflict ‘Corona-hunger and COVID-starvation’ among poor families and the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the country.
The NYCN National President, Solomon Adodo, in a statement in Abuja, called on the government to direct transfer of funds into the bank account of all Nigerians to enable them to survive the imminent national lockdown.
He said: “At the moment, our greatest concern is the fate of poor families (those who survive on daily earnings) and the IDPs in the face of a total lockdown.
“What happens to them? Are they not condemned to another kind of death called “Corona Hunger” or “Covid-Starvation?”
“We are not strongly assured by the efforts of the Ministry of Health and they need to do much more. What is the Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs,
“Ministry of Special Duties and Ministry of Federal Capital Territory doing? There sure needs to be a thorough integrated synergistic approach to allay the fears of Nigerians.”
While acknowledging the efforts of the government in curbing the spread of the virus, Mr Adodo lamented that many critical stakeholders had not been involved, especially in the area of accurate information dissemination and mass advocacy.
He said: “Only the traditional media platforms which many Nigerians have no access to, are being utilized.
“The youth, students, market women, transport workers etc. are completely left out. This is unacceptable. What happens to the illiterate and rural dwellers?
“There sure needs to be a thorough integrated synergistic approach to allay the fears of Nigerians.”
The NYCN president, therefore, appealed to the government to come up with a more holistic plan and approach to handling the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing out that the Buhari Government is a pro-poor government.
“It will be tragic if the poor survive Covid-19 and die of hunger and socioeconomic tensions associated with it. This will happen if their special issues are not addressed,” Mr Adodo added.
He urged the Nigerian government to proceed with the distribution of medical supplies provided by Jack Ma “in a very transparent and accountable manner”.
It also appealed for the immediate distribution of free hand sanitizers, face masks other health essentials and food to all, noting that the NYCN would raise altruistic volunteers to this effect, if need be.