Despite the lockdown, many Nigerians still go out, risking infection, and new cases keep rising. If you shot down an economy through necessary lockdown, you got to provide an alternative – adequate lockdown relief.
All the government should have done to make the lockdown successful is to have set aside about $1 billion to provide food (with social distancing observed) and funds through BVN to every Nigerian.
That way, far less Nigerians would have had a justifiable excise to step out of their homes. And the lockdown would have effectively locked out Covid-19. Coronavirus, not seeing people to infect on the streets, would have expired.
No human being can do without eating. Food is very important. If no one gives you free food, you need money to buy it. If you are not making enough money, survival then becomes a serious struggle in a lockdown – unless the Government can provide a stimulus package.
That is why the US Government paid every resident what amounts to over N400, 000. Canada paid what amounts to over N600, 000 into resident’s accounts. Nigerians do not expect up to that. But so far have gotten nothing.
As it is, millions of Nigerians have been given 2 hard choices: stay home and starve or go out to try to bring back food but risk contracting the deadly virus in the process. Many Nigerians have chosen risk over certainty.
The Government should set aside about $1billion for lockdown relief for every Nigerian. And that relief should be handled by incorruptible public officers.
That way, things would be much better. Lockdown would be easier to enforce for Government. And the citizens would be happier and abler to stay home.
Before government extends the current lockdown, it should urgently provide relief to Nigerians. Set aside $500m to pay into the accounts of every Nigerian resident, and set aside another $500m to provide food on every Nigerian table.
In Italy, the Campania regional government (not the central government o) has prepared a $1.09 billion lockdown relief package.
Nigeria’s Federal Government should dig into its coffers and bring out $1 billion for lockdown relief for All Nigerian residents.
Government, you have the money. Government, use what you have to get what you want. Besides, the welfare of every citizen is the duty of Government.