BY JOHNPAUL AMAECHI
Lagos state will continue to lead the table of states with new infections of the dreaded coronavirus as inhabitants of the state have flouted all rules of social and physical distances laid down by the government .
A trip round Lagos points to this as shops, markets and other businesses continued unabated in places such as Ikotun Egbe, Ogba Ijaiye, Igando, Mile 2, Apapa Wharf and Tin Can Island area.
In Ikotun Egbe, major businesses were shut, but market women were seen mingling and selling their wares without either face mask of hand gloves.
Most of them whom our reporter spoke to only laughed when confronted with the possibility of them getting the disease and said: “holy ghost fire, it’s not my portion.”
Others admitted that they are aware of the virus and the government’s efforts to curb, but insisted that they won’t stay at home feed their families, especially as government palliative was not forthcoming.
At the Idimu area which is mostly populated by people from the South Western part of the country, residents were seen questioning the rational of the federal government extension of the two weeks lock down.
Indeed, Kamoru Abiodun a resident who told newsreportersng.com that he was into driving and that he drives a commercial bus before government imposed restriction on movement, said he came out to seek the daily bread for his family.
“There is nothing I can do I just have to come out after staying indoors for many days, I need to hustle to put food on the table, my children need to eat and my family needs to survive.
Many of the residents who spoke to newsreportersng.com said government effort to deliver the much touted COVID-19 relief package, expected to keep many indoors failed, as relief was not seen either physically or virtually.
“We expected government to make use of our Bank Verification Number (BVN) access and transfer a token into our accounts, at least that should calmed frayed nerves, but nothing of such happened, we keep hoping that it will come, but it never came, rather we were hearing stories of how government is distributing palliative and transferring money in Nasarawa and other northern states that were not on lock down.” Adebayo Suleimon said.
Indeed, Nasarawa was not among the states on lock down, but Federal government has distributed funds to over 11million house hold have been identified to get palliative in the country.
The minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq said 2.6m vulnerable persons are currently to benefit from the Federal government cash transfer intervention programme.
Also, over 11 million households have been identified in 35 states to benefit from the palliative measure.
Fielding questions from newsmen at the presidential task force media briefing on Thursday, the minister said six vulnerable persons are identified in each household.
Out of the 2.6 million, Farouq said the FCT has 5,982 households, in Nasarawa, 8,271; Katsina, 6,732; and Anambra state has 1,367 households respectively.
She further said the ministry is working seriously to cover additional 1m households subsequently.
Insisting that there was no favoritism in the palliative support, Farouq stressed that the ministry capture the vulnerable persons by community engagement.
This, she revealed that the ministry usually meet with the community leaders who decide those who are most vulnerable in the areas.
“The SIP has been on since 2016 and the social national register that we have as at March 31, 2020 is made up of 11,450,537 poor and vulnerable people in 35 states and 453 Local Government Areas across the country.
“Now, currently the beneficiaries that we give this cash transfer to are 2.6million people.
“In FCT, we have 5,982 households, in Nasarawa, we have 8,271 households, Katsina has 6,732 households, and Anambra has 1,367 households.And by general standard, households composition is 6 persons.
“We are thinking of expanding the register, we are in touch with the UN social protection donor group to see how the register can be rapidly expanded to cover additional 1 million households.But we have 11.4 million households in the register that are ready for this intervention.
“The way the people are captured is by community engagement. We go in and reach the community, opinion leaders, religious leaders who are the ones that decide which families fall within that category of poor and vulnerable households.And that is what we use, so there is really accountability and transparency in this regard,” Farouq stated.