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Lagos residents lament endless wait for COVID-19 relief

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Relief materials being distributed to communities


• Crowds besiege RTEAN secretariat for palliatives

Three weeks into the lockdown announced by the Federal Government in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital, Abuja, lamentation and wailing is on the lips of the average citizen in Lagos and other parts of the country as Nigerians complain that the distribution of the stimulus packages announced by the Federal and Lagos State governments to cushion the effects of the lockdown have been anything but impressive.

Yesterday, hundreds of the people besieged the Lagos State Secretariat of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) seeking palliatives to ease financial burdens occasioned by the COVID-19 lockdown, with more than 1,000 residents of the RTEAN host community coming out for financial assistance and food items in spite of the directive on social distancing.

Among the people were pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, youths and adults queuing to receive assistance from the union. Security agents had a tough battle controlling the crowd and preventing them from blocking the gate to the secretariat in Igando.
 
An artisan, Saheed Ogunwande, who was among the crowd, said government needed to do more in helping the poor, a reason the people came to the association for help. Ogunwande said he had not gotten any palliative from the government in the last three weeks of the lockdown, but the union had been very helpful by donating rice, garri and money.

Also speaking, Alhaja Sekinat Aremu, a nursing mother, said: “I am here to find help for my husband and myself. It has been very hard coping with hunger this time. We are all waiting for the chairman of the union to come and assist us. We were told he is sharing food and money and that is why we are here.”

Some others accuse the government of politicizing the Covid-19 relief. A trader, Michael Edun, said: “They said they are sharing food, but if you don’t have a party card, you won’t get. They brought rice to my area in Agege, the woman that was in charge divided it and said it was for party people and started sharing a DeRica to people.

“Keeping people at home without food is not only dangerous, but inhuman on the part of the government. A friend told me that in Canada, the government distributes food every morning to households and US citizens have received paychecks for staying at home but here, nothing. Why won’t crime escalate and One Million boys trouble us in our homes?”

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