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SE Governors should use their security votes to provide food during lock down 

Owerri – The National President, Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), Comrade Igboayaka O. Igboayaka, has criticized the strategy of shutting down markets in Igboland by governors of Igbo extraction to combat the spread of the dreaded novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) without putting adequate measures in place to cushion the resultant effect.

While addressing newsmen yesterday in Owerri, Comrade Igboayaka described the strategy as lacking in human face, saying it could be self-defeating as well as insensitivity and deliberate wickedness on the part of governments to shut down markets without creating an effective alternative for daily survival of the poor among the rich.

Igboayaka noted that after OYC reviewed all measures of self-imposed isolation orders issued by State governors in Igboland, it discovered that the policy lack human empathy.

He further noted that closing markets in Igboland without alternative measures to arrest the “hunger virus” could lead the poor masses to commit suicide, asking how many Nigerians can survive a period of two weeks without going to the streets to hustle and provide food on the table for himself and children.

According to Igboayaka, by imposing the shutdown of markets and forcing Ndigbo to self-isolate, without putting anything in their pockets, the government is simply asking their subjects to choose between death by Coronavirus or death by hunger. This is because an average Nigerian is already living hand-to-mouth in abject poverty and the inability to go out everyday is already a death sentence. How have they saved the citizens by this? This is not a response peculiar to our society.

There is no gainsaying the fact that many citizens and/or workers in Nigeria are mainly dependent on their daily pay or wages and needed to go to work everyday in order to survive and put food on their tables. It’s practically impossible for a widow to watch her children die of hunger due to the closure of markets. Many of our Igbo women have less than ₦1000 to ₦2000 as their daily capital from which they make up daily feeding for their Children. Over 40% of women could starve in Igboland if they fail to come to market for one day.

He, therefore, urged governors of Igbo extraction and well-to-do individuals in the society, to utilize the enormous resources in their disposal and come out with a real human face welfare packages that will meet the daily bread of the poor, and provide for those who are most vulnerable during this trying period.

OYC further advised governors and other political stakeholders not to wait only for electioneering campaign periods to begin to share rice and other foodstuffs to the electorates and less-privileged. Now is the time to help those who are not able to go to work as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Desperate situations calls for desperate measures. The European countries that asked their citizens to stay at home and self-isolate, created welfare programmes and different types of funds to put in the pockets of their citizens to sustain them during the isolation period. Even the United States of America with the lowest level of poverty in the world is giving out a thousand dollars (₦380,000) to each of their citizen but you want us to be comfortable isolating without food.

It is unacceptable for our governors to go home with minimum of ₦800 million as security vote every month while their subjects sleep on an empty stomach every night. We urged these governors to set-up Welfare Technical Committee within 72 hours or be ready for mass burials that will be caused by “Hunger Virus” which will be more disastrous than Coronavirus.

Comrade Igboayaka O Igboayaka advised Governors of Igbo extraction to be more reasonable in making certain policy, he regretted that Just 24 hours of the announcement of closure of markets price of goods has skyrocket. He therefore, noted that some governors are not credible to handle the office of Governor and lack intellectual capacity to govern a state especially in a situation that touches the economy of the people.

Comrade Igboayaka urged Governors of Igbo extraction to seek the help of financial, economic Crisis management expert to help at this corona virus outbreak or resign for more credible hands to govern the state.

He stressed that it’s unreasonable for a governor to wake up and declare shutting down of Markets in the state without single preparation on the people welfare. He stated that some Governors don’t have the data of unemployed youths, accurate population of people living in their variou state, neither the data of many homes that are living in abject poverty.

OYC warned that failure to set up “State Welfare Technical Committee” might attract the anger of over 30 million Igbo youths, for we cannot sit-at-home in hunger while the governors enjoy the collective resources of the people.

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