This is a slap in the face of the Buhari administration.
It is no longer news that Nigerians like people in other countries, have been forced to stay home as COVID-19 continues to spread and now infected over 2 million people worldwide.
What’s news however, is that while other countries have already made progress in providing palliatives and stimulus packages to help ease the effects of covid-19 on families and businesses, Nigeria is still struggling to decide how its palliatives would be shared and who the actual beneficiaries are.
There are already reports claiming the Buhari administration has already begun distribution of food items and cash to the most vulnerable families across the country, but Nigerians are demanding for transparency as they question the criteria used in determining who qualifies.
In a recent report, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said funds donated in the fight against covid-19, cannot be shared as a stimulus package.
On her own part, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Umar, says the federal government considers Nigerians with account balance of N5000 or less, and who buys N100 call credit a month, as poor and will ensure they get relief cash.
This strategy by the government would deny many Nigerians who might have over N5000 in their accounts, but which wouldn’t be enough to sustain their families for long, the opportunity to benefit from the said palliatives.
As the Buhari administration continues to dilly-dally, Nigerians continue to starve and are now taking matters into their own hands by violating government’s stay home directive.
A post shared on a Hausa based Facebook page ‘Fitila’, said the only thing that can be easily shared and is guaranteed to reach the poor in Nigeria, is death.
The post in Hausa reads, “A Nigeria Mutuwa Ce Kadai Zaka Bayar A Rabawa Talaka Ta Iso Gareshi Babu Almundahana.”
In English, it means, “In Nigeria, death alone is what if shared, would reach the poor with no hurdle.”
Nigerians are losing patience. They are already accusing the Buhari administration of taking advantage of the covid-19 pandemic to loot public funds and to divert donated funds for unintended purposes.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Director General, National Centers for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, has earlier today Thursday 16th, said he sees no reason why every State in Nigeria won’t be affected by the virus. He however, stated that the Federal Government was making efforts to curb the spread of the virus.
“We have responded to Lassa smoothly and nobody shut down the country because it wasn’t necessary, the response was fairly efficient.
“Now, COVID-19 is on a much larger scale – at the moment in 22 states but it will grow to every state in Nigeria, there is no reason why it won’t – it is a respiratory virus,” he said.
“We just activated the lab in Kano a few days ago. So, these are the results of the increased testing capacity that we are providing for the country,” he added.
“The tests are fairly robust; I can’t say 100 per cent, but they are as close to that as possible. We had the highest number of positive cases in a single day.
“Since the onset of the outbreak, we are testing a lot more (and) that is beginning to show. It is only so much we can do from NCDC; we are working with the state governments.
“They actually own the response at the state and local levels, and we need all of them now. We really have to face the reality that this is an outbreak, this is a virus.
“It will circulate in Nigeria, absolutely no doubt and our responsibility as a country is to prepare more, to be able to detect, isolate, treat, list contacts, and stop transmission.”
With the NCDC boss’s grim prediction and Government’s failing to effectively address Nigerians major concerns while staying home, the road ahead is certainly not looking smooth.