Calls for total respect for the rights of peaceful protesters
By Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre, MAMA Centre, on Thursday expressed shock and greater disappointment over the alleged footages showing aggrieved citizens whopping Covid-19 palliatives illegally diverted and stocked in secluded warehouses across the country.
MAMA Centre claimed that while they have been at the forefront demanding appropriate and prompt relief intervention by the governments to the women and other vulnerable groups at all levels to alleviate the dreaded impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown on them and their families, they are seriously disturbed by the whopping sums donated and expended on Covid-19 palliatives, that were illegally diverted, stocked and deliberately blocked from getting to the needy across the country.
In a Press statement signed by the Executive Director, MAMA Centre, Chioma Kanu the group said they are more concerned that despite glaring impacts of the pandemic on citizens’ livelihoods with resultant financial incapacitation and poor purchasing power, palliatives were obstructed from getting to them, and information of their existence was never made known to the citizens of the affected communities. Kanu said MAMA Centre gathered that where palliatives were distributed, citizens received them in very low quantity.
“MAMA Centre observed from the ongoing revelations, lack of transparency and accountability that dominated Covid-19 pandemic donations, expenditures, and distribution of palliatives.
“With the existing level of poverty, insecurity, and youth unemployment in the country, we find it worrisome that government at all levels neglected appropriate relief measures within their respective capacity to mitigate anticipated socio-economic deprivation and social vices that might be triggered by the pandemic.”
They further demanded a prompt and thorough independent investigation into processes and procedures initiated in the distribution of Covid-19 palliatives and other relief interventions by the Federal Government to ensure social justice for common Nigerians.
“We demand proper sanction by relevant anti-graft agencies against reported diversion and abuse that dominated Covid-19 palliative distribution to the citizens.
“We also demand total respect and protection for the dignity of peaceful protesters and law-abiding citizens in the ongoing nationwide clamouring for an end to police brutality, as we are not unaware that citizens’ right to personal liberty, freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly are safeguarded, protected and must be respected, as enshrined under Section 35, 39 and 40 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
“We also call for more proactive policy actions for women empowerment to encourage self-reliance and socio-economic self-sustainability of women including rightsholders,” they stated.