Issues emanating from the way the Nigerian government is handling the coronavirus pandemic have attracted the attention of an NGO; Woman Africa International.
The president and founder of Woman Africa International – Rev. Mrs. Ijeoma Emeribe organized a press conference in where she laid bare her pains regarding the effect of the lockdown especially on women and the masses in general.
The theme of the media parley which was “ A call for Wisdom”, let her throw lights on the ways NCNC, Health and Humanitarian Ministers, the covid-19 committee are handling the pandemic.
Women Africa International through its President and founder punctured holes on the federal governments’ handling of the pandemic in the areas of the debilitating effect of the lockdown of woman and the masses and the mendacity surrounding the officials in charge and the sharing of the palliatives.
Rev. Mrs. Ijeoma Emeribe and her NGO are well versed in handling humanitarian issues in that the NGO caters to the needs of women . Since 2015, Woman Africa International has empowered over 1000 women because they see the need for women to fare well in order for them to be able to fend for themselves.
She therefore calls for support from everyone to make her noble intentions a reality.
The theme she chose – a call for wisdom is apt in making her intentions a reality. Her intentions right now are to make the current coonavirus situation better managed so that women and the Nigerian masses will not suffer unnecessarily.
The President and founder of Woman Africa International said that Nigerians do not believe that Covid-19 is in Nigeria largely due to the way the government is handling the situation. Increasing figures in spite of the lockdown, varying statistics from NCDC and Governors, forced isolation, secrecy of the treatment, are the reasons she gave for the lack of the belief on the part of many Nigerians.
She pointedly demands that the NCNC make public the name of the drug used to treat covid patients because “It’s a problem to us and we are asking to know, she said”.
She also lamented the gross effect of the lockdown on women. According to her, women are worst hit by the lockdown because they can no longer go out to look for food.
Also, women with other health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, lassa fever are afraid to approach hospitals because they would be tagged covid patients; thereby dying at home. She stressed the effect to children, domestic violence and wayward behavior.
Rev. Mrs Ijeoma added that the effect on woman is even more biting since most women are bread winners who are not in government employ so no hope of salary. So many women are dying of hypertension, she pointed out.
The Nigerian masses are also groaning under the weight of the lockdown. “Prices of a lot of goods have skyrocketed. Even Nigerian workers, people in government are still suffering; “If it is only the rich that have access to government money are the ones actually living a life, she observed”.
Seeing those harmful effects of lockdown on women and the masses generally, Rev. Mrs. Ijeoma Emeribe therefore is vehemently calling for the lifting of the lockdown. “They should put an end to it. The recovery rates are high in Nigeria; I think Nigeria is doing well. Over 1000 covid patients have recovered and are discharged she noted”.
Many countries are also easing restrictions. “Let the masses go back to their businesses, she requested“. However, she stressed that safety protocols like social distancing, wearing masks; regular hand washing should still be maintained.
Another issue that drew her ire was the way government officials are handling the palliatives and covid-related donations. She observed the following;
One, distinction should not be made between the rich and the poor while sharing the palliatives and that nobody should be left out. A rich man could have invested his all before the pandemic.
Two, the palliatives released by the government is grossly inadequate considering Nigeria’s official population statistics 0f over 180 million people.
The mode of sharing of the palliatives was also criticized. Women Africa International with experience in humanitarian affairs could come handy in guiding the government on the type of business to direct the empowerment.
She said that the government officials in change of the palliatives are mismanaging them.
The mismanagement of the lock down, according to her has led to untold suffering in the suburbs like “Lugbe axis” when people are still living their normal lives “The only thing that is not normal is the source of getting food for their children because of the lock down, she noted”.
She went further to call to question the logic behind the school feeding programme of the Government. “Every child depends on their parents. A child does not have a pot”. She declared – she added that, telling us that you are feeding school children before the pandemic as during the Covid-19 is something we have to look into seriously.
Moving on she called out categorically, the NCDC chairman, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Health Minister, Dr. Osagie Ehinare, Humanitarian Minister, Sadiya Umar farouq, asking them to use their tongue to count their teeth as issues of integrity are at stake in the handling of the pandemic, lock own, palliatives as related issues are concerned.
At this turn, she harped on the importance of integrity in leadership. Hear her: “Integrity matters a lot when it comes to leadership.
“The only way Nigerians will believe that Covid-19 is a reality when integrity becomes the order of the day”.
“It is integrity that will drive home to the people that of a truth that Covid-19 is here”.
In a nutshell, Woman Africa International, she said is using this to say the poor people, the masses are the ones suffering because we are being locked down.
“If the government could open all the businesses that bring money to them, they should also open the businesses that would put food on the masses table, because they are crying out everywhere on social media, she concluded”.