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Labour seeks immediate release of warehoused COVID-19 palliatives

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A man reacts while carrying a bag of noodles during a mass looting of a warehouse that have COVID-19 food palliatives that were not given during lockdown to relieve people of hunger, in Abuja, Nigeria, on October 26, 2020. – Nigeria, with 200 million inhabitants, counts the highest number of extreme poverty in the world, with close to 90 million inhabitants who are at food risk. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged federal and state governments to immediately release food items meant to alleviate the hardship of Nigerians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It argued that heeding the call would stem ongoing nationwide looting.

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The labour centre noted with concern the stealing of goods procured to relieve citizens during the lockdowns.

It observed that “it is now obvious that the palliatives procured by the government for immediate distribution to our people at their critical time of need, and to assuage the hardship occasioned by the lockdown were hoarded by some government officials.”

NLC stated that the “real reasons for hiding the products” were yet to be disclosed to the public, while “many of the palliative provisions are already getting rotten in the warehouses they were stored.”

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Condemning the mass looting of the relief materials, the movement equally deplored the conduct of some government officials in the whole episode.

It added: “We call on the Federal Government to investigate the conduct of those who hoarded the palliative provisions.

“To forestall riotous plundering of the remaining relief palliatives, the Nigeria Labour Congress demands that the Federal Government should order the immediate release of all the welfare provisions and materials to citizens.

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As we had demanded in the past, the distribution of the palliative provisions should be transparent, and inclusive with the active participation of mass-based citizen groups.

“This directive should apply to state governments, many of which are chiefly culprit in this regard.

“Government officials cannot afford to create a scenario that precipitates mass unrests at this very delicate and fragile milieu in global history. A stitch in time would save nine.”

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