Stakeholders against the spread of COVID-19 in Niger State have raised the alarm over the possibility of more Nigerians dying of hunger if the government at both local, state, and federal levels hoard palliatives from the people,
The warning by the concerned residents follows the outbreak of the second wave of the coronavirus in Nigeria.
The stakeholders comprising religious leaders, health workers, traditional rulers, market leaders, and the media, among others, said the government must do its best to ensure that the second phase of the disease does not get out of hand.
The participants at a COVID-19 awareness and prevention program organized by the Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and the Niger State USAID E-WASH in Minna complained that during the first phase of the outbreak, many Nigerians suffered hunger and untold hardship as a result of lockdown.
“Governments at both local, state, and federal levels hid palliatives meant for the masses and allowed us to suffer and die of hunger. They are coming up with another plan to make us suffer again.”
Alh. Danladi Musa Jibrin, Ward Head of Fadikpe, called on governments to act fast to save the poor from the second wave of the disease’s impact.
“The COVID-19 Second Wave will consume us, especially the poor. The government must act fast to ensure the disease does not escalate. What happened with the palliatives during the First Wave should be avoided.”
“As religious and traditional leaders, we are telling the government to reach out to the genuinely needy and not politicize anything.”
Another participant, Hadiza Mohammed Saba, said it would be quite difficult for people to adhere to the government’s directives to stay at home when they have no food to eat.
“Government is not sensitive to the sufferings of the people. Why should people comply with the directive to stay at home when they have no food to eat.”
In a keynote address, the Director Niger State Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA, Dr. Hauwa Kolo, urged people of the state to adhere strictly to COVID-19 regulations to prevent the disease’s spread.
She said that presently, out of the over 5,000 persons tested in the state, 338 persons have tested positive for the virus, with 12 deaths across the state’s entire local government areas.
The Director also said that tests were conducted on all the samples at the state Microbiology Laboratory without transporting the samples any longer to Abuja.
“We advise anyone with symptoms of the disease to visit our laboratory to run a coronavirus test. And it is free of charge,” she added.