Sunday, March 29, 2020

Covid 19 State Lockdown: Need For Governments Palliatives, the Rwanda Example



Bible Reference: Mathew 25 verse 40-46.

By Dr Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe Esq.

Public and private sector synergy is required to effectively and efficiently curtail, combat and prevent the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 killer disease. However, there are issues to be addressed and it is pertinent that governments partnering with the private sector must be considerate and show greater concern for the wellbeing of citizens, especially the poorest of the poor in our social milieu.

It sounds great and commendable to give enough time for citizens and the poor to stock their homes with foodstuff and daily needs so that within the next 14 days beginning from 1st  of April nobody is allowed to show up in the streets while supermarkets, markets, shops and restaurants are under lock and key. This. Is certainly how to exhibit proactive leadership and display of value for life. It's commendable.

However, governments and folks responsible for the protection of lives and property must realise that "all fingers and not equal." I have pondered over this critical scenario where a mere gateman earning barely N20,000 a month will be able to stock his wife's kitchen with foodstuff and daily needs that will sustain the family for 14 days or more depending on the state where he is domiciled; without crisis of hunger, poor health arising from malnutrition and possible deaths.

It is my considered personal opinion that there should be certain level of consideration and/or palliatives to cushion the effects of possible starvation, malnutrition and deaths arising from this idea of "state lockdown" in some states in Nigeria.

We heard of certain financial contributions made by some wealthy Nigerians totalling billions of Naira and still counting; towards the fight against Covid-19, and it will certainly not be out of place for substantial part of such donations to  be deployed for the procurement of food items and daily needs, to assist poor families and the indigents in our cities, towns and villages.

My appeal goes to governments across the country, wealthy business moguls, rich and powerful individuals, elected representatives and wealthy political appointees. This is the time for them to give back to society. Our people must not die as a result of hunger occasioned by Covid-19 state Lockdown.

This appeal may sound stupid and senseless to folks who are rich and powerful, rich enough to stock their homes with foodstuff and daily needs that will last for six months, one year, five years and so on and so forth. But they must of a necessity consider the poor and indigents in our society. Jesus Christ was a true Advocate with specialty on issues and welfare of the poor folks. Let's emulate Jesus Christ as we proceed on Covid-19 state lockdown. Mathew 24 verse 40.

To ignore this appeal is to say that those who cannot afford to stock their homes with sufficient foodstuff and daily needs are entitled to die via impending starvation and malnutrition.

Governments orders on "stay at home" must be enforced by security agencies and no citizen must be found in the streets for a period of 14 days or more, depending on the state where you are domiciled. This is okay but should be backed up with some measures of palliatives as social security for citizens.

Our people say, an hungry man is an angry man. Anger, frustration and starvation may give birth to criminality. God forbid. Therefore, state governments locking down must do the needful in partnership with the private sectors and wealthy folks to workout and implement certain palliatives for the people, especially poor folks and unemployed citizens,  so that we do not get into serious crisis in governments genuine efforts to combat Covid-19.

American government announced two trillion dollars palliatives to cushion the effects of Covid-19 while food supplies is consistent in some cpuntries hence there are no news of deaths occasioned by starvation while lockdown are in force in those countries. Our governments must do something practical to assist citizens. It is the responsibility of governments and corporate citizens to give back to the people and thus is the right time to do so.

Our "empowerment giants in politics, private and public life" must display their large appetite for peoples welfare now, not during. election period, not when it is very close to party primaries. Do it now please. The billionaires eyeing governorship slots in 2023, and other juicy elective positions must put their wealth on display for Covid-19 state Lockdown by procuring and distributing foodstuff and daily needs to our people for a period of 14 days in Delta. This is the right time for you to exhibit your philanthropic pedigree. It shall be deeply appreciated by all and sundry.

Help the poor, save the poor because the poor cannot afford to stock their homes with the required quantity of food items to survive 14 days or more during state Lockdown. Do it for God Almighty and Jesus Christ. God bless you as you open your treasures for the poor and our people at times like this.

Rwanda government recently announced house to house distribution of foodstuff and daily needs to citizens to cushion the effects of Covid-19 Lockdown. We can do better than Rwanda. We are the Giant of Africa. We are a rich oil producing nation, well endowed financially to assist citizens as we Lockdown to combat Covid-19.

The very essence of government and good governance is to provide social security for the people, protect lives and property; and our governments and leaders must wake up to their constitutional duties, responsibilities and adhere strictly to the "Social Contract" that exist between the government and the people, between the leaders and the led.

Speaking truth to power is lawful and divinely approved and authorized by God and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. Jesus is Lord.

Stronger Delta, Let's Build Together!

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