By Galaxy Imanmadu
Warri based Human Rights Activist and Executive Director of Global Action Against Hunger, Crime and Violation of Peoples’ Rights (GAHCAVPER), Comrade Emeka Nwokocha, has raised alarm over looming hunger in Delta State as the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led government goes for total lockdown for 2-weeks, starting on Wednesday, in a bid to curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.
Comr. Nwokocha, raised the alarm Tuesday, 31/03/2020, while reviewing the modalities being put in place by the state government to implement the lockdown policy. He noted that less than 24 hours to the kick-off of the stay-at-home policy, the government seems unready to mitigate the bouts of hunger that would ravage the poor and jobless people who do not have money to stock their homes with food.
He said, “I am greatly worried that less than 24 hours before the stay-at-home policy of the Delta State government kicks-off, there is no ray of hope that the government is committed to providing palliatives to the indigent and jobless people who would be vulnerable to serious bout of hunger when the state is totally locked down on Wednesday.
“While I subscribe to the fact that the decision by the government of Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to lockdown the state is a welcome development, it bohoves the government to complement its action with some palliatives to cushion the hurting effect of hunger on the citizens, most especially, the poor and jobless. I do not think it is the best way to go, if the government continuously feigns ignorance of the fact that the poor populace will face serious hardship due to hardship during the 2-weeks lockdown.
“I want to remind the Delta State government that despite Nigeria’s infamous status as Africa’s wealthiest, more than half of the country lives below the poverty line, with high level of chronic undernutrition among children. Without doubts, Delta State has a fair share of this nutritional challenges, the reason food remains a major need of the people when the stay-at-home policy eventually commenced.”
While calling on the governments of Delta State, and other states across the country to always prioritise the welfare of the people whenever public policies are being conceived, Comr. Nwokocha, urged them to borrow a leaf from UK, US, Canada and European countries where the governments created food banks as palliatives to attenuate the effects of the lockdown on their citizens.
He called on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to roll out stimulus packages to cushion the devastating effects of hunger on the poor people who do not have the resources to stock their homes with food.
“I passionately call on the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to look the way of the poor people who do not have money to buy foodstuffs during the sit-at-home period. This call is expedient as reports have shown that the prices of foodstuffs such as garri, beans, rice, yam and others have skyrocketed in the markets across the state, even when the lockdown has not commenced,” he stated.