By Galaxy Imanmadu
Human Rights Activist and Executive Director of Global Action Against Hunger, Crime and Violation of Peoples’ Rights (GAHCAVPER), Comr. Emeka Nwokocha, has called on the government of Delta State to intervene immediately in the rising cost of foodstuffs and other essential materials like nose masks and sanitizers being needed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.
Comr. Nwokocha, made the call yesterday, following confirmed reports across the state that prices of foodstuffs have doubled including prices of protective materials such as nose masks and sanitizers.
He said, ”I find it worrisome that the prices of foodstuffs, nose masks and sanitizers have been hiked by those selling the items without any justifiable reasons. This display of rabid wickedness is uncalled for, mostly at this time our state, our country and the whole world are fighting tooth and nail to keep the murderous virus at bay.”
He continued, “at this time every right thinking Nigerian is assisting the government in putting measures in place to combat the dreadful virus, some selfish and greedy persons are hell bent at inflicting pain on their countrymen and women, just to satiate their greed for money and thereby thwarting the good efforts by the Delta state government to prevent the virus from entering the state.”
Comr. Nwokocha, noted that in other climes around the world, where thousands of people have contracted the virus, the citizens have shown full commitment in the fight to contain it totally, even as he said that contributions from the citizens through donation of food, masks and sanitizers have been highly commended.
“In other climes the world over, we have seen the citizens join hands with their governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and they have shown commendable commitment in every sense of the word through donations of foods, protective materials and other items that will keep the virus at bay. But right here, I mean in our Delta state, as confirmed reports have shown, the sellers of these essential commodities, mostly foodstuffs now see the situation as an opportunity to make money at the detriment of the innocent poor Deltans who ordinarily could barely afford one meal in a day.
It is a flagrant display of barefaced wickedness inimical to the good intentions of the Delta state government to ward off the coronavirus.
“Come to think of it, why would the price of a basket of garri (the most staple food) be jacked up from N700.00 a few days ago to N2,000.00 currently, even there is no guarantee that the price will not increase again. In the same vein, the price of rice, beans, and other food items have gone up too, thus leaving the poor populace without food.
“My concern is that we cannot win the “war” against the coronavirus if we are bent on punishing ourselves unjustly.
Funnily, when you ask the traders why the sudden rise in the prices of foodstuffs, they will simply say, “it is coronavirus.” I think something is very wrong somewhere.”
While advising the government on actions to take to checkmate exorbitant prices of foods and other necessary materials to combat the virus, Comr. Nwokocha, charged the government of the day to intervene promptly by using media platforms (using the languages the people understand very well) to sensitize and appeal to the traders not to increase the prices of foodstuffs, nose masks and sanitizers. Adding that, “measures should be put in place to punish anybody that flouts the directive.”
“Truth is, when the government becomes nonchalant towards wicked tendencies by some persons to punish others as the case of the unjustifiable increase of foodstuffs has presented, there is bound to be avoidable pain, anguish and suffering becoming the lot of the people,” he stated