Ethnic Youth groups, numbering 406, rising from a special meeting yesterday have cautioned the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and the 36 states’ Governors, led by their Chairman, Dr. Kayode Fayemi on further extension of ongoing Corona virus lockdown
The group under the aegis of Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum (NENYLF) stated they were compelled to react to the precarious and discouraging state of things in the country as the lockdown has brought untold hardship on the people and have affected the survival and welfare of the over 200 million Nigerian population.
The statement jointly signed by the Chairman of the group and President Arewa Consultative Youth Forum, Alhaji Yerimma Shetimma and the Secretary General of the group, Aare Oladotun Hassan who is also, President, Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide said the rules from rising curve of the dreaded and contagious Corona virus, with attendant negatives have brought harrowing experiences to the people from about one month(March to April) leaving behind tales of woes, deaths, pains, agony, hunger.
The groups lamented what they described as indifferent attitude of the Federal government to the plight of the people, most unfortunately lack of adequate provisions for succinct health care services deliveries and reasonable and effective welfare measures for them.
“We are not unaware of the challenges thrown up by the outbreak of the highly contagious novel Corona virus has created a national and global pandemic. It is on this wise that we call on President Muhammadu Buhari, alongside Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to urgently review the current unimpressive approach templates on the modus operandi in the management, administration and control of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
They said it must be impressed on the members of the Presidential Taskforce Against COVID-19 led by Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, alongside the 36 States Governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum(NGF) led by Dr. Kayode Fayemi CON, Executive Governor of Ekiti State to exercise lots of caution and restraint in their resolution of the situation and ensure they do not extend the lockdown or introduce some bone straightening restrictions or draconian measures.
“We the Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum(NENYLF), being the Supreme umbrella body for the over 406 various ethnic youth groups in the six geopolitical zone of Nigeria and in Diaspora
are aghast to pass a vote of no confidence on the Presidential Taskforce Committee over the multi level discrepancies in the management of the entire COVID-19 since the first index case in of March till date.
We are left to ponder as spectators rather than as partners, compared to how the novel disease was being managed in China and other countries, where the governments put their peoples first, in clear contrast to what prevails in Nigeria, wherein citizens are relegated to the lowest elb with decrement of our human value to ordinary reared animals in the zoo. Even the zoo management will not treat animals the way our government treated Nigerians with absolute neglects, disgust and disdain.
Nigeria’s citizens are fed like caged pigs with ridiculous crumbs and spoilt waste rice from the trash bin of the Nigerian Custom Services and unrealistic food silos.
The statement continued, “Regrettably, watching the deceitful conducts daily reminds one of the biblical perilous times, with grave negative results in the recent weeks; ranging from abject hunger and break down of law and order, feeding a whole community with two loaves of bread and one paint bucket of rice, turning a frustrated army of low and middle income Nigerians to rampaging rumbling wrestlers fighting and queueing in scorching sun to be fed with crumbs of debris, for instance we saw the type of rice delivered in some states in the southern region viz: Oyo State, a more dreadful contagious rice more dangerous than the Corona virus if allowed to be consumed”
The groups said they were further disappointed with the growing daily lies, lamentable and provoking stringent standards adopted by the Federal Government in the payment of the relief stimulus to the vulnerable ones.
They described the statement allegedly credited to the Minister of Finance that the relief package was for only people who recharge with #100.00 and that anybody who had up to N5,000.00 (Five Thousand Naira)would not benefit from palliative.
They added it was evil and dehumanizing to treat fellow citizens like slaves, never do good and hopeless people, whereas developed countries and some leading African nations are raising the bar of hope and love by crediting their citizens and foreigners account with dependable palliative and disaster allowances and relief package.
In the face of deaths and pains, our government wears a toga of dehumanizing trajectory of greed and blatant lies, despite huge amount of money donated by well meaning Nigerians, corporate multinationals and foreign donors and additional loans, borrowings from lending institutions, yet we cannot guarantee that the mony were judiciously utilized and expended for the good of the greatest number of the people.
As part of our fundamental resolutions, we laconically demand for the following:
1. Immediate review and complete overhauling of the Presidential Taskforce Committee to be efficiently and jointly managed by the President and Vice President; as Chairman and Vice respectively.
2. The representatives of all the critical stakeholders included into the National Emergency Committee Against COVID-19, such the Chairman NGF representing all the 36 States Governors, Chairman State Houses of Assembly Speakers Forum, Chairman, Association of Local Government Chairmen, Senate President, Speaker, CJN, IGP, CDS, DSS, NSA, 6 Indigenous Youth Leaders of the Six Geo Political Zones, MAN, CAN, Muslim Council, NLC, NBA, NUJ, TUC, NMA, NANS, NYCN, NYP respectively.
3. Increased procurement of Information Technology equipments nationally to frontally minimize human contacts with the infected people in all our Isolation and Testing Centres too. This will greatly reduce the direct risk of human transmission of this highly contagious disease.
4. A National Volunteer Taskforce against COVID-19 be urgently put in place with adequate regulations; this will provide knowledge sharing on Security support, Healthcare support, Food and essential supplies support, Prison decongestion , Criminal Justice Assistance and Legal Aid and Human Rights Support.
“It is in this wise that we appreciate the Governor of Lagos State for the recent commissioning of the 70-bed Testing Centre and 30 Intensive Care Units in Eti-Osa Local Government at Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island, Eti-Osa Local Government Area on Wednesday, 22nd April, 2020. This, we expect to be urgently replicated nationally too”.
The groups, given the fact that Nigerians are presently confronted with daily high number of cases of COVID-19 , opined that more action was required to stop the spread of Corona virus in the country.
The urgently requested for mass distribution of free face masks, hand sanitizer, water dispenser outlet with mounted borehole waters tanks to mention a few nationwide.
They also suggested an institutional capacity to contain the spread of the dreaded disease needs to be expanded by partnering with private health institutions, including but not limited to Private Tertiary Care Services providers and Private Specialised Diagnostic Centres, especially for primary diagnosis nationally.
We are also worried at the directive of the Presidential Taskforce against COVID-19 that private health institutions should not handle any form of medical attention to COVID-19 cases , including diagnosis, hence our request to President Muhammadu Buhari for an urgent review and panacea in this respect.
“We call on the Federal Government, Governor of the 36 States and FCT to simultaneously work with Hoteliers to yield their Hotels over as Temporary Isolation and Testing Centres with procurement of more testing equipment as the current Testing and Isolation Centres will become inadequate at the growing level of COVID-19 cases nationally”.
“We call on Mr President to appeal to well-meaning individuals and religious leaders , who are owners of unoccupied buildings and various religious houses in the 36 State and FCT, to wit, to partner with the Government at all levels for use of such buildings(Churches and Mosque) as Temporary Isolation and Testing Centres in order to create more capacity for tests and Isolation.
The leadership of the body advised the Federal Government to urgently direct Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the renovation and upgrading of the Old Lagos State School of Nursing Building at Awolowo Road, Ikoyi within Eti-Osa Local Government Area into a Tertiary Care Centre for COVID-19 cases, since Lagos State has recorded the highest infected cases.
They also demanded as follows:
Urgently direct the renovation and upgrading of the abandoned Federal Secretariat and other Federal Government buildings in Ikoyi, Lagos and other states of the Federation into a National COVID-19 Care Centres, given that Lagos State has the highest number of COVID-19 cases as well as the fact that Eti-Osa Local Government Area has one of the local government areas in Nigeria with the highest cases of COVID-19.
To provide massive intervention support to the Vigilante Committees nationwide and other local security outfits that have emerged across 6 regions both morally and financially, in order to strengthen security operations and administration during the ongoing period of lockdown. We are of the view that only a solid collaboration among the Vigilante Committees and the state security apparatus is most potent panacea to repel relentless bandit attacks and reprisals across some states.
Expansion of Food and essential supplies distributions nationwide in general, equitably in all the six geopolitical Zones.
The Food Supply Chain currently set up by Federal Government and at State and Local Government levels are grossly inadequate for the food challenges faced by people during this period of lockdown.
Suggested an enlarged food bank, wherein poor and vulnerable citizens could have easy access to abundant food supply, borne out a strong collaboration with staple food merchants and other critical stakeholders across the state.
Recommended that the Federal Government should utilize the vantage opportunity of the BVN to credit all Nigerians captured on its database a weekly palliative stipend sum of N5,000.00 (Five Thousand Naira), this should be done urgently without any iota of prerequisite stringent terms and conditions till the COVID-19 pandemic is over nationwide.
Banks should be able to provide loans to SME’s to thrive during the pandemic Era.
Setting up a National Joint
Prison Decongestion Committee made up of the Chief Judge of Nigeria, Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice alongside the 36 States AG’s and Commissioner of Justices with the Chief Judge of their State to work with the Federal Ministry of Interior to decongest the prisons nationwide for minor or less contentious cases other than terrorism and capital Offences, with all the attendant health challenges during the lockdown.
Called for an urgent restrain by the various States Anti COVID-19 Special Offences Taskforce under the Nigerian Police Force to exercise commensurate restraint in the enforcement of the lockdown order and respect the fundamental rights of citizens during this lockdown.
The groups, as a matter of priority, appreciated the role of the Nigerian media so far, while in due course to the evil time we are in, we shall be requesting for detailed virtual analysis and full display of all infected patients via documentary of those recoveries testimonies and comments, in order to categorically affirm the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, because, according to “seeing is believing”
With a heart of sobriety and great reverence to Almighty Allah, the leadership of the entire over 406 coalition under the auspices of the Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum(NENYLF) felicitates with all Muslim faithfuls in the Holy month of Ramadan, while we express our deepest thanks and prayers for His mercies and bountiful blessings upon us. It our conviction that we shall all triumph over COVID-19.