The masses in kwara have cried out over their plight especially since the lock down order became effective in the state as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic in the country.
The Deputy Governor of Kwara State, who is also the Chairman COVID-19 Technical Support Committee, Mr. Kayode Alabi, announced a total lockdown in the state following the confirmation of the infectious disease through the contact tracing of index cases.
“COVID-19 is an emerging public health development across the world and governments are studying situations and making adjustments to cope with the emergency”
Kwara Government flagged off the distribution of first phase of palliatives for beneficiaries in Kwara Central Senatorial District with distribution of the commodities worth N154 million to beneficiaries in Asa local government area of the state.
Chairman of the palliative subcommittee and Emir of Shonga, Dr. Haliru Yahaya, said that commodities were meant to cushion the hardship faced following restrictions of movement and social distancing to curtail the spread of global pandemic, Coronavirus.
However, since the commencement of the said palliatives, several comments have been generated by members of the society expressing displeasure over its inadequacy and worthlessness.
Government earlier debunked these comments saying that they are politically motivated and the government cannot in actual sense feed all Kwarans but rarher reaching out to poorest of the poor.
Again, some concerned Nigerian question the yardstick by which poor of the poorest is measured because despite the said palliatives, poverty still lingers in the society.
Comrade Bayo Fabiyi, the kwara State Coordinator, Oodua People’s Congress, OPC New Era had earlier made a call on the Governments in Nigeria to review and explain its manner of defining what it called poorest of the poor masses in Nigeria.
A survey conducted by NEWSBEAM to know the plight of the people during the on going lock down gave us insight into the plight of Kwarans across the state, some hungry, angry, impoverished and getting frustrated.
Mukaila, an auto mechanic at Sabo Oke axis said that he lives on a daily income and that ever since the lock down order took effect, he has been looking irresponsible as a family man in his home and it is becoming unbearable.
“My brother, you know that women will respect her husband more when there is money. I have quarreled with my wife more than three times since last week because, the little that I can afford is not even enough for a day not to talk of a week and we don’t know for how long this lock down will last.”
Another respondent Mrs Okibaro, a member of the All Progressives Congress Party, APC expressed disappointment in the way government treat the issue of palliatives to the people.
She said: “When we were told that government will do something to help us during this lock down we were full of expectation but when I waited and all wards around us are talking about something to share, I was forced to call the wife of a Senator in our constituency whom we work for. Funny enough, the woman said that it is government that will send us palliatives. Sad enough, when the palliatives came, I was too ashamed to even share it. It was a 5kg rice and 1 litre of groundnut oil for three families, how do we expect to share such? I went round my other colleagues, it is same.”
A telephone respondent, who is a stake holder from a ward in Kaiama local government area of Kwara State who spoke under condition of anonymity, lamented the manner of funds released by the State government as palliatives to cushion the effects of the coronavirus outbreak in the state.
Earlier on Sunday, announced that it the government palliatives measure to Kaiama people is been monetized in response to the request of the political leaders in the area, regarded as the food basket of the state.
A political leader in the area who also supervised the distribution, the state commissioner for Environment, Architect Aliyu Muhammad Saifudeen expressed appreciation to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for acceding to their request, saying,” the entire people of Kaiama local government felt the impact of the palliatives.
Information available to NEWSBEAM was that N20,000,000 (N20million) was released for distribution to the entire 10 wards in the area but only the sum of N1, 500,000 (N1.5million) was released to each ward totaling N15, 000,000 (N15million).
Questions that further emanated from this discovery is that each households received the sum of N1,000 while some received as low as between N700 and N500 which was the reason some persons lament over the manner of palliatives being share.
Without doubts, there is looming hunger in the society added to the prevailing level of poverty that ravage the people since the lockdown order came in place.
One our respondent asked, “We don’t really understand what they expect us to use N1,000 to buy and for how long they expect us to spend the money. Now, the government is crying wolf of COVID-19 but I want to categorically state here that with this poor arrangement, if nothing is done further, then, there is problem. Many people will die of hunger than the numbers of death recorded against COVID-19.
“We are suffering here, please come to our aid. It is getting worse and government is playing politics with our wellbeing. The meager money they are sharing here cannot solve our problem, rather, it will lead us to our early graves.”
Going by the Kaiama situation, it is evident that the monetary palliative provided by the state government is a far cry from alleviating poverty and hunger during the period of the lockdown and perhaps government need to introduce a monitoring mechanism that will ensure that the funds get to their destinations and that it is judiciously applied.
There is also need for government to look into the cries of the people and use non political means of listening to genuine cries with a view to solving their problems.