URGENT PRESS RELEASE
26TH APRIL, 2020.
406 ETHNIC YOUTH GROUPS CALL FOR AN URGENT MEASURES TO CURB THE SPIRAL SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN NIGERIA; CAUTION THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE AND GOVERNORS ON FURTHER EXTENSION OF LOCK DOWN AND URGENT NEED FOR TOTAL WELFARE IN 7 DAYS.
With a heart of sobriety and grave fear of the unknown, the leadership of the entire over 406 coalition under the auspices of the Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum(NENYLF) felicitates with all our Muslim faithfuls in the Holy month of Ramadan, while we express our deepest thanks and prayers to the Almighty Allah for His mercies and restoration of life back to our world, as we shall all triumph over the novel pandemic disease of COVID 19.
We the Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum(NENYLF), comprising of the Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide, Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, Arewa Consultative Youth Forum, Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide; being the Supreme umbrella body for the over 406 various ethnic youth groups in the six geopolitical zone of Nigeria and in Diaspora.
- We are compelled to react to the unmitigated precarious and discouraging state of affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it affects the survival and welfare of the over 200 million Nigerian population, particularly the Youths, considering the spiral rising curve of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic globally which has infected over 2,000,000 and claimed a little below 200,000 lives, with multiple attendant negatives of harrowing experiences since the past last one month(March to April) till date, leaving behind monumental tales of woes, plague, deaths, pains, agony and hunger, most unfortunately the Government of Nigeria has displayed lack of capacity, capability and preparation, not to mention the low provisions for adequate succinct health care services deliveries and total welfare of her citizenry.
- We are not unaware of the challenges thrown up by the outbreak of the highly contagious novel Coronavirus disease, which has erupted a national and global economic crisis.
- It is on this wise that we call on President Muhammadu Buhari alongside Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN to urgently review the current unimpressive and lackadaisical approach and templates on the modus operandi in the management, administration and control of the COVID pandemic in Nigeria, while it must be impressed on the members of the Presidential Taskforce Against COVID 19 led by Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, alongside the 36 States Governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors Forum(NGF) led by Dr. Kayode Fayemi CON, Executive Governor of Ekiti State to exercise lots of caution and restraint in their resolution for relaxation and another 14 days extension of the lock down, predicated on restrictive movements and compulsory wearing of face mask and other ancillary points raised respectively.
- We are aghast to pass a vote of no confidence to the Presidential Taskforce Committee based on the multi level discrepancies and complicity in the management of the entire COVID 19 breakout in the past few weeks ever since the first index case of COVID 19 in the month of March till date.
- We are left to ponder as spectators, rather than as expected partners compared to how the novel disease is being contained and managed in China and other countries of the world, where the government placed their people #first, in clear contrast to what prevails in Nigeria, wherein citizens are relegated to the lowest heb, with constant decrement of our human value to ordinary reared animals in the zoo, even the zoo management will not treat animals the way our government treated Nigerians with absolute neglects, disgust and disdain.
- Our citizens are fed like caged pigs with ridiculous crumbs and spoilt waste rice from the abandoned trash bins of the Nigerian Custom Services and other unrealistic food silos.
- Regrettably, watching the deceitful conducts on our National Television broadcast daily reminds one of the biblical perilous end time and tribulations, with increased grave negative results in the recent weeks; ranging from abject poverty, warlock hunger and incessant break down of law and order. For instance feeding a whole community with two loaves of bread and Derica Cup per street/One paint bucket of rice per unit community via CDA’s, mostly having been hijacked by political party cronies and government’s apologists.
- This evil premeditated evil conspiracies and illicit machinations is completely turning an already frustrated and poverty stricken army of low and middle income Nigerians to marauders, scavenging, rampaging rumbling wrestlers brutally fighting and ferociously queueing in the scorching sun to be fed with food crumbs of debris in a tagged COVID 19 Bacco Sacks, for instance we saw the type of bags of rice delivered in some states in the southern region recently by the Federal Government viz: Oyo State, a more dreadful contagious rice not good for human consumption and health, more dangerous than the Coronavirus if allowed to be consumed.
- We are further disappointed with the growing daily lies camouflaged against the masses, and as well decried the provoking stringent standards process adopted by the Federal Government to determining vulnerable poor Nigerians in the payment of the N5,000.00 (Five Thousand Naira) relief palliative, that they must have less than same N5,000 balance in thier bank account, with an average recharging airtime of N100.00 on thier phone both to be confirmed by the CBN and NCC.
- This is a double jeopardy and more dehumanizing to treat fellow citizens like slaves and never do good hopeless people, where developed countries and some leading African nations are raising the bar of hope and love by crediting their citizen’s and foreigner’s bank account with substantial amount and other dependable palliative such as; disaster allowances and multilayer relief packages.
- Those adjudged perfect system of government are not runned by Aliens, with this attendant “double jeopardy”, one will be left with the question …: who do we offend in Nigeria?.
- In the face of daily recorded deaths, mental torture and agonizing pains, our government wears a toga of terror and crippled in trajectory of greed and bold lies, despite the huge amount of money donated by well meaning Nigerians and corporate multinationals, coupled with foreign donors and additional loan borrowings from international lending institutions, yet we cannot transparently guarantee that the monies where judiciously utilized and expended for the good of the greatest number.
As part of our fundamental resolutions, we laconically demand for the followings:
(a). We call for the immediate review and complete overhauling of the Presidential Taskforce Committee to now be efficiently and jointly managed by the President and Vice President; as Chairman and Vice respectively.
(b). We call for the inclusion of the representatives of all the critical stakeholders to be urgently included into our proposed: National Emergency Committee Against COVID 19; such the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) representing all the 36 States Governors, Chairman, State Houses of Assembly Speakers Forum, Chairman, Association of Local Government Chairmen, Senate President, Speaker, NCDC, CJN, IGP, CDS, DSS, NSA, 6 Indigenous Youth Leaders of the Six Geo Political Zones, MAN, CAN, Muslim Council, NLC, NBA, NUJ, TUC, NMA, NANS, NYCN, NYP, Entertainment Industry to mention a few respectively.
(c) We call for increased procurement of Information Technology equipments(Robotic Supports) nationally, in order to frontally minimize human contacts, especially our frobtlines health workers with the infected people in all the Isolation and testing centres nationwide.
(d). This measure will greatly reduce the direct risk of human transmission of this highly contagious disease.
(e). We call for a National Volunteer Taskforce against COVID 19 be urgently put in place with adequate guiding principles and regulations, this will inevitably provide succinct knowledge and information sharing on Security support, Healthcare support, Food and essential supplies support, Prison decongestion , Criminal Justice Assistance and Legal Aid and Human Rights Support and other considered areas of synergies.
(f). It is in this wise that we appreciate the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for the recent commissioning of the 70-bed Testing Centre and 30 Intensive Care Units in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State at Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island, on Wednesday, 22nd April, 2020.
Consequently, this we demanded and expected to be urgently replicated nationally too.
(g). Given the fact that we are presently confronted with daily high number of infected cases of COVID-19 , we are of the view that more action is required to stop the spread of Coronavirus in our country.
(h). We urgently request for local production and mass free distribution of face mask, hand sanitizer, water dispenser outlets with sustainable mounted borehole water-tanks to mention a few nationwide.
(i). It is in this wise that we are of the view that the institutional capacity to contain the spread of the dreaded disease needs to be expanded by partnering with the NMA, Medical Guild, private health institutions, including but not limited to Private Tertiary Care Services providers and Private Specialised Diagnostic Centres, especially for primary diagnosis nationally.
(j). We are also worried at the directive of the Presidential Taskforce against COVID-19 that private health institutions should not handle any form of medical attention to COVID-19 cases , including diagnosis, hence our request to President Muhammadu Buhari for an urgent review and provision of intervention funds and medical supplies such as ventilators and testing kits to serve as panacea in this respect.
(k). We call on the Federal, 36 States/FCT and 776 Local Governments to simultaneously work with Hoteliers to yield their Hotels over as Temporary Isolation and Testing Centre with procurement of more testing equipments as the current Testing and Isolation Centres will become inadequate at the growing curve of COVID-19 cases nationally.
(L). We call on Mr President and 36 States Governors to jointly appeal to well-meaning individuals and religious leaders , who are owners of unoccupied buildings and various religious houses in the 36 State and FCT, to wit, to partner with the Government at all levels for use of such buildings(Churches and Mosque) as Temporary Isolation and Testing Centres in order to create more capacity for tests and Isolation.
(m). We also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently direct the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on the immediate renovation and upgrading of the Old Lagos State School of Nursing Building at Awolowo Road, Ikoyi within Eti-Osa Local Government Area into a Tertiary Care Centre for COVID-19 cases and simultaneous upgrading of all Primary Healthcare Centres to Tertiary Hospitals, since Lagos State has recorded the highest infected cases of a little below 1,000 infected patients.
(n). We also call on Mr President to urgently direct the renovation and upgrading of the abandoned High rise Federal Secretariat and other Federal Government buildings in Ikoyi, Lagos and other states of the Federation into a National COVID-19 Care Centres, given that Lagos State has the highest number of COVID-19 cases as well as the fact that Eti-Osa Local Government Area has one of the local government areas in Nigeria with the highest cases of COVID-19.
(o). We also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to provide massive intervention support to the Vigilante Committees nationwide and other local security outfits that have emerged across 6 regions(ie: Amotekun Community Security Outfit in Southwest) both morally and financially, in order to strengthen our conventional security operations and administration during the ongoing period of lockdown and beyond.
(p). We are of the view that it is only a solid collaboration between the Vigilante Committees and the state security apparatus is most potent panacea to repel relentless bandit attacks and reprisals across some states, ie the scenario of one million boys bandits in Lagos now taking advantage of the situation to rob and attack innocent Nigerians.
(q). We also call for the immediate expansion of Food and essential supplies distributions nationwide in general, fairly and equitably distributed in all the six geopolitical Zones.
(r). We are of the view that the Food Supply Chain currently set up by Federal Government and at State and Local Government levels are grossly inadequate for the food challenges faced by people during this period of lockdown.
(s). Consequently, we advise for an enlarge food bank, wherein poor and vulnerable citizens can have easy access to abundant food supply, with a strong collaboration with staple food merchants, police stations and other critical stakeholders across the state.
(t). We strongly recommend that the Federal Government should utilize the positive vantage opportunity of the BVN to credit all Nigerians captured on its database a weekly palliative stimulus package stipend sum of N5,000.00 (Five Thousand Naira). This should be done urgently without any iota of prerequisite stringent terms and conditions till the COVID pandemic is over nationwide.
(u). While the banks and government financial agencies such as Bank of Industry(BoI), Bank of Agriculture, MSME, SMEDAN should be able to provide loans to SME’s to thrive during the pandemic Era.
(v). We also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up an Emergency National Joint
Prison Decongestion Committee made up of the Chief Judge of Nigeria, Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice alongside the 36 States AG’s and Commissioner of Justices with the Chief Judge of their State to work with the Federal Ministry of Interior to decongest the prisons nationwide for minor or less contentious cases other than terrorism and capital Offences, with all the attendant health challenges during the lockdown.
(w). We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to put up restrictive lockdown rules, procedures and mechanisms for Nigerians of 90 days stretch, whereas we call for an urgent restrain by the various States Anti-Covid 19 Special Offences Taskforce under the Nigerian Police Force to exercise commensurate restraint in the enforcement of the lockdown order, and respect the fundamental rights of citizens during this lockdown.
(x). As a matter of priority, we appreciate the role of the Nigerian media so far, while in due course to the evil time we are in, we shall be requesting for detailed virtual analysis and full display of all infected patients via documentary video of those recoveries testimonies and comments to be aired on all our Television and Radio stations as well as social media platforms and print media respectively , in order to categorically affirm the reality of the COVID 19 pandemic in Nigeria.
(y). This is essentially necessary because some Nigerians in the larger basement believed that “seeing is believing”.
(z). We look forward to positive consideration of our fundamental demands within the next 7 days.
We remain eternally grateful in anticipation.
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!
For: Nigerian Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum (NENYLF)
Alhaji Yerimma Shetimma,
President, Arewa Consultative Youth Forum(ACYF).
Aare Oladotun Hassan, Esq.
Secretary General, NENYLF.
President, Yoruba Council of Ýouths Worldwide(YCYW).
26th April, 2020.