April 3, 2020

COVID-19 has thrown Nigerians into fear, frustration – PDP Chieftain

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By Ibrahim Hassan

A chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in Kaduna state, Lawal Adamu Usman ,has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown Nigerians into fear, frustration and has disrupted their activities.

He accused the government of not doing much to ease hardship of the people, especially the vulnerable population.

Usman popularly called Mr.LA ,spoke when he commenced the presentation of  N10 million stimulus package to ease people’s  suffering during the  COVID-1919 lockdown in Kaduna at the weekend.

He said people were now fully feeling the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in an environment that was officially “unprepared to cope beyond rhetoric.”

“In previous weeks perhaps it seemed imaginary, but now we are faced with a daunting reality as the scope of the pandemic becomes evident and our daily lives are increasingly altered,” he said.

According to him, ” as we have seen, this epidemic is bringing out the best, and worst, in us.  At its worst, we are witnessing people speaking out as fear, frustration, uncertainly and massive disruptions to our daily routines grow.”

“This frightening and uncertain environment also exacerbates social isolation, particularly of the most vulnerable within our society, the old, the ill, the very young and the socially marginalized with an impending massive social and psychological toll.

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In times of such emergency, the single most important factor in surviving the initial stages of disaster, limiting suffering, protecting the vulnerable, and quickly recovering in the aftermath of the crisis is providing empathy, kindness and compassion to our fellow citizens.”

“One lesson from the coronavirus is that we need leaders who prevent crises more than we need managers who scramble to handle them.

Almost from the onset of this health emergency, some of us warned of the risk that COVID-19 could spread to our country with with its weak health systems, poor sanitation facilities, the proliferation of informal economy and urban crowding which pose additional challenges.”

“Lamentably, to this point, our governments at various levels only concentrate on placing citizens under lockdown, relying on social distancing measures,  imposing partial travel bans, prohibiting mass gatherings and shutting down schools and offices.

With no known treatment regiment yet, experts recommend a series of actions that can minimise the risk of infection, including the frequent and thorough washing of hands with soap and water which raises the question of the fate of the larger Nigerian population that don’t have access to water, and the possibility of effective social distancing in an informal settlement where many people are cramped together in small spaces.”

“Worse, very few testing and isolation centres exist in the country, with almost none in northern Nigeria. Even the few that exist are inadequately equipped, leaving healthcare workers already lacking enough protective gear and training, at risk, exacerbated by lack of water and sanitisers in the hospital.

Several decades of communal conflict, ongoing security challenges and under-resourced public health programmes mean that managing a crisis of the scale of the COVID19 pandemic could prove daunting to this poorly governed country.”

“Also, people here live hand-to-mouth, they have to go to work regardless of what symptoms they are showing which places another hurdle before the government lockdown.”

Usman said in the face of this reality, “we as individuals are the first responders who must turn this worry into action by setting examples for sharing responsibility for, and with one another, and giving support to others in their communities even in the face of social-distancing, quarantine and fear.

Consequently, even the simplest acts of kindness, compassion and empathy would be felt so deeply by the vulnerable communities.”

” No act is too simple, no moment too small, to bring comfort and healing.  What is important is that we should look for opportunities to demonstrate empathy and kindness, and act on them.”

“We have the ability and opportunity to ease the fear by talking to ourselves about this crisis and ensuring ourselves that experts are going to fix it.

“We have the ability help ensure the health of our communities by encouraging them to observe public health instructions and to limit their potential exposure, while talking routinely with them to help them feel less isolated and alone.”

*Above all, we can donate time, money, food and your skills to support any need in our communities.”

“To this end, and with a heavy heart, today I unveil a N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira) palliative package through the Mr LA Cares Foundation for distribution to 81 Wards of  the seven Local Government Areas of Chikun, Kajuru, Kaduna South, Kaduna North, Igabi, Giwa and Birnin Gwari.

This token is to cushion the effect of the lockdown as Kaduna State government’s response to the pandemic that has caused serious socioe-conomic hardships to our people.”

“Our coordinators in the 81 wards will be assigned the responsibility of distributing the food items to the beneficiaries within the identified communities and households of Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone with immediate effect.”

“I wish those who have contacted the virus a quick recovery, and to remind the good people of Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone to always observe the instructions and advice of medical experts on protective measures against the spread of the virus.”

“If we look back to history, those who arr remembered for making a difference are those who showed compassion, kindness, and empathy to fellow human beings in their greatest hours of need. These qualities are at the core of our humanity and our capacity to respond and recover from this current crisis.

Together, and supported by each other, we will get through this.”