By Babatunde Olorunfemi
It is no longer news that residents of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja are currently experiencing lockdown occasioned by the deadly coronavirus.
The first phase of the lockdown recently elapsed and President Muhammadu Buhari extended it by another 14 days.
Extending the lockdown is not the issue, but its effect on the people that have been told to stay at home for another 14 days without adequate provisions for them.
In other climes, citizens were given palliatives to cushion the effect of coronavirus lockdown. Nigeria is capable of doing such as well, but the federal government has remained silent on assisting Nigerians at these difficult times.
What Buhari should have done before extending the lockdown was paying Nigerians stimulus funds to feed till the lockdown elapses.
The truth is, Nigerians are hungry and also angry. People have resorted to crime and Nigerians are sleeping with one eye open.
The federal government cannot be fighting coronavirus without also fighting hunger. If our attention is only focused on defeating this deadly disease without thinking of those that don’t have anything to eat due to this lockdown, hunger may kill Nigerians before coronavirus does.
Youths in some parts of the country have become vigilantes, burning tyres every night and guarding their areas against criminal elements.
In the past few days, a lot of lives have been lost as a result of crime occasioned by this lockdown.
It is sad that Nigerians are going through these difficult times without help from the federal government. Nigerians living abroad that have received stimulus funds from their host countries are raining curses on President Buhari for not replicating such in their own country.
There have been donations from billionaire businessmen and businesswomen towards the fight against coronavirus and to cushion the effect of the disease on Nigerians. Where are all these funds, and why can’t the federal government share these funds to Nigerians.
It saddens my heart to see that the lockdown has turned some Nigerians to online beggars. You go on social media, and all you see are account numbers of Nigerians.
A lot of people go as far as responding to fake giveaways by dropping their account details, hoping for a miracle. This saddens my heart!
It is high time the federal government did something about the plight of Nigerians. The politicians are not complaining of hunger because they have money and food that will last them for a very long time. But the masses don’t have these at their disposals.
If nothing is done to assist Nigerians at these trying times, crime will increase in some parts of the country, people will start dying of hunger and children will start having kwashiorkor.
It is my prayer that coronavirus is defeated in Nigeria and the world soon. But as we fight this deadly disease that is hellbent of exterminating mankind, we should also fight hunger and keep people alive.
Finally, I commend our health workers for what they are doing on the front lines. They risk their lives for us on a daily basis despite the fact that they are not immune to this disease. They are our heroes and the government should continue to provide them with what they need as they continue to fight this common enemy of the world.