Chairman of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, Advisory Council, Anthony Emmanuel Nted, has called on government to provide palliatives and relief materials to the most vulnerable people in the society.
Nted, who is the immediate past president-general of MWUN, while commdending the federal and state governments, especially Lagos State, for efforts at containing the spread of Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, however argued that much more needed to be done to check the spread of the virus in the country.
In a statement, he said, among others: “In advanced countries, governments make life easier for the people to the extent that even those that do not have jobs are catered for by the state. When such societies are under lockdown, the residents stay indoors. Unfortunately, here because the higher percentage of the citizens lives from hand-to-mouth, depending on daily outings for survival, lockdown makes little or no meaning to them. The need for survival and the fear of hunger, to them, is greater than the fear of the highly contagious and deadly CoronaVirus.
“The government palliatives and relief materials for the most vulnerable and the poorest of the poor have been hijacked by politicians and other highly placed individuals. Most of the poor and vulnerable citizens are left to their fate and have no other option than to defy the lockdown and venture into the streets in search of their daily bread. Out on the street, the security agencies that ought to enforce the lockdown turn the situation for personal gains. They arrest and extort helpless citizens, impound vehicles and demand fees from their drivers for their release. We cannot continue like this while the nation bleeds.
“Fellow Nigerians, we cannot allow our country to be overrun by the pandemic. We must all join hands with the government to arrest the situation. While there is no doubt that the government at present, has no capacity to address the challenge alone, we must jointly confront the challenge devoid of politic, religious and ethnic sentiments. While I call on wealthy Nigerians and corporate organisations to assist the government to feed the poor and the vulnerable members of our society, the government should set up mobile courts to prosecute violators of the lockdown to enforce compliance.”