As Nigerians are urged to stay at home to curtail the spread of corona virus also known as COVID-19, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has urged the Federal Government to distribute health essentials, food item and money to citizens to curtail the hardship that will come as a result of the policy.
The NYCN in a statement signed by its President, Solomon Adodo and made available to journalist on Thursday explained that as effective as the stay at home policy is in curtailing the spread of the virus, there would be suffering and even deaths that may come as a result of hunger.
The youth body also chided the government for failing to carry along critical stakeholders along in decision making maintaining that awareness on the preventive measured were lopsided.
“Covid-19 pandemic is right here in Nigeria! The cases are already rising at an alarming geometric progression. Lagos and Kaduna States are on lockdown. The Federal Capital Territory and other States would soon follow if we must avoid the path to Italy. The situation is very dire.
“Unfortunately, there is no ordinary Nigerian who can explain for certainty what the plans of Federal Government is to totally contain and defeat the virus. Many critical stakeholders have not been involved, especially in the area of accurate information dissemination and mass advocacy. 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?
“Right now, even the National Committee on Covid-19 is not addressing the public. In a situation of life-and-death like this, it is tragic. The position of the National Youth Council of Nigeria is that the Federal Government is making some efforts. But there is more it can do if it activates the necessary platforms and garner divergent views, most of which may not be purely medical. The task of saving this country is not for a narrow bureaucratic government committee.
“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.
“These are questions that must be answered fast. At this rate the country obviously requires a lockdown to address this pandemic. But the poor is grossly endangered. 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”.
The NYCN therefore appealed to the Federal Government to come up with a more wholistic plan and approach to handling the COVID-19 pandemic adding that it must be done with dispatch.
The youth body further demanded that the medical supplies provided by Mr. Jack Ma to combat COVID-19 in Nigeria should be immediately deployed to use in a very transparent and accountable manner.