The Federal and State Governments in Nigeria lacked creative approach to the management of Covid-19 pandemic.
Human Rights, Liberty Access, and Peace Defenders Foundation (HURIDE), which said this in a brifing held in Enugu, Enugu State the state capital, stated it was this “hollowness, emptiness and wickedness of Nigeria’s political class” that denied the country the much needed development.
The chairman Board of Trustees (BoT) of HURIDE, High Chief Uzor A. Uzor, who spoke during the briefing lamented that the Federal Government and the State Governments have been dishing out measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 which included total lockdown but woefully failed to provide stimulus to cushion the effect of the measures.
The group said the measures announced were “punitive, obnoxious, ostentatious and meant to suffer Nigerians especially those that are in the bottom rung of the society”.
They said virtually in all the States there has no equipped quarantine or isolation centres, no medical personnel, no laboratory testing centers, no drugs and other essential items that would help the victims of the pandemic, rather they were busy addressing press conferences.
The group said our leaders from Federal Government to the State Governments have no proactive and creative measures except intermittent press conferences aimed at deceiving international Community and their citizens to the effect that they were on top of the situation. Recall that the only imported medical equipment now was the only one donated by JACK MA.
“It is just God that sustains us. There is nothing on the ground anywhere. They issue orders to close down schools, markets, churches, offices.
They are good but what provision have they made for the people.
Even Nigerians are aware that our leaders are not sincere but they only put their trust in God” the group said.
HURIDE said that in United States of America (USA), Europe, Italy and China which locked down, there were stimulus for the citizens like Government’s payment of all categories of wages of workers as well as suppling them food to their homes.
Here, they said, the President of the Federal Republic was yet to address the nation, stressing that he ought to have addressed the nation and declare State of emergency on our health sector.
He said the Governors resorted to fire brigade approach and these have exposed the “incompetence and unpreparedness of our political leaders” to emergency situations, lamenting that there was no coordinated way of combating the virus from Federal to State Governments and it is the people who are ultimately suffering as usual.
It is unfortunate, said the group, that various governments are locking down but they have not even paid workers salary for the month of March by 27th.
“We lack leaders who has the political will to move this country forward.
This pandemic has exposed the weakness of our leaders, unfortunately, most of them imported this virus because they travel abroad every other week but they have failed to build their own country and States so that it can attract other people” they said.
The group challenged our political leaders to use this period of Coronavirus pandemic to engage in soul searching to reposition this country.
HURIDE said ” they should now use the period of this pandemic to decide to build and equip hospitals.
This should be a lesson to our leaders who rush to Europe, America and India for medical tourism to invest hugely in healthcare delivery”
The group said in confronting the pandemic, our political leaders should remember that there are the “poor and down-trodden, people who survive on daily economy.
He said these people constitute a large chunk of the society so that the effect of the measures to combat the virus would not be more devastating than the pandemic itself”.
They said that the Governors who collect nothing less than N1.5b to N3b security votes every month should make it available to tackle this pandemic including paying the poor this period.
This should be applicable to the Presidemt who collects hundreds of billions as Presidential Safety Net.
They said that each citizen of this country should be paid N50, 000 to cushion the effect of the inhuman measure being taken by Governments.
“They should stop indiscriminate collection of levies.It should not be enough to issue orders closing this and that but there are no incentives for the people to survive lockdown.
What will they eat? Where will the money come from when they are indoors.
Governors and Presidency should do something if they know people will listen to them” HURIDE said.
The rights group lamented that the South Eaest Governors are more disorganised and insensitive than even governors from other zones, lamenting that the dead Coronavirus patient in Enugu State who later tested negative was killed by State Government which dumped him in a bush in the name of quarantine centre and Enugu government should be held accountable and liable and the governor should publicly apologize in three national newspapers and provide the family with N500 million as a statutory compassion fund for the family.
This, the group said, was a clear indication that most States do not have isolation or quarantine centres, laboratory testing equipment, temperature testing kids among other essential health materials. High Chief Uzor warned.