Nigerians amidst two deaths: Covid-19 and Hunger

We all know Covid-19 is a virus that has wrecked havoc on societies. A lot of businesses, schools, banks, markets have been shut down. Churches and mosques, including social gatherings such as marriage, burials, and naming ceremonies, have not been spared in this incessant array of global shutdowns.

Life has been so unbearable for people after the president had declared a lockdown of the most affected parts of the country-Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja. This was then followed by further lockdown orders by Governors of respective states. The lockdown has piled hunger and misery on hapless individuals in our society. A lot of people cannot feed unless they work; husbands are forced to stay at home; the wives can neither be engaged economically nor could they make a daily living; hence, people are frustrated due to hunger.

What our government does not understand is that hunger kills as much as Covid-19; one only has more intonations of urgency. Meanwhile, if there is no food and every average Nigerian daily income earners are asked to stay at home with their families, how do the government expect people not to die? People are dying of hunger because there is no provision for them; food is largely available in markets, but people lack the purchasing power and financial standing to buy food that is at least conditional upon sustained living.

Popular and successful Nigerians are donating funds needed for the welfare of the people, but our question is where are these donations? What we do not also understand is why these top businessmen are donating to the government and not citizens. It is the citizens that are fending for themselves- income, living, and sustenance wise. Only a fraction should be given to the government for public health, research, and policy needs.

To add salt to the injury, banks also went as far as giving the federal government aids, so annoying a people! The financial institutions could quickly transfer funds to their customers. Their systems can easily detect those amongst their clientele are the most vulnerable in terms of income generation, withdrawals, savings, etc. especially when there is communication between banks in consideration of multiple account holders through the Bank Verification Number (BVN) system.

Hunger is a deadly disease that kills as much as Covid-19. These writers succinctly opine that they should make provision for the citizen if they don’t want bodies to start dropping on the street, not as a result of the new virus but the old virus the new virus met in town, which, to me, is deadly as the latest. Hunger is the old virus and it is a fast-killing virus.

The government is, to a large extent wasting money, and they are not in any way accountable. Instead of providing for the citizenry, they have found happiness and solace in utilizing the received funds and the nation’s treasury for paparazzi, wining & dining. For example, Nigeria would expend some real Naira for the Chinese doctors that arrived in the country some days ago; meanwhile, the “need” for these ‘expatriate physicians’ is yet to be communicated to the nation despite the outcry of persons and organizations condemning the act. Equally, the costs of the importation and later importation of these foreign body doctors are also yet to be communicated.

The affirmation of the devilish act and the compounded wicked soul of our leaders cannot be overemphasized. While most of them have their houses stocked with the wanted, needed, ‘wasted’ food and every resource necessary for a smooth lockdown and consequent self-isolation, they have failed to think about the poor Lagos father that must sell on the Lagos-Ibadan Express road to fend for his household. The same is the situation for the Owerri woman who pushes truck in the hot sun and unfavorable weather condition.

While we recognize the premise, sine qua non, and irreducible status of the lockdown, we must yet acknowledge that the masses are crying for food provision, especially if they must stay at home. The government of every country is the only option in the present global pandemic.

Hunger is as deadly as Covid-19, although there might be painful and compounded social, national, and public health consequences of people dying of the Coronavirus. Meanwhile, at the individual level, death from Covid-19 is exact to death from hunger. The government should be persuaded to do the needful and not the jamboree Corona food support they are presently engaged, characterized by a 2Kg of rice for a WHOLE STREET! Who does that? Already, in the suburbs of Ogun and Lagos State, there is a frequent report of overnight robbery and theft. The youths have started breaking into people’s houses because they are hungry and have few options in terms of income and productive activities.

In order not to create additional and consequential problems, the government should be considerate, and again, do the needful. We know Nigerians are law-abiding citizens; if sustenance is provided for the people, they would gladly stay at home to avoid the spread of this disease till normalcy returns to Mother Earth.

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