At a critical time in history, the world needs each other to survive, certain Africans are ridiculed to the point of tears. As countries move around finding solutions to balance their economy and stabilise their citizens by giving out weekly or monthly stipends, Nigeria, the giant of Africa has decided to share loaves of bread and cups of rice to it’s already hungry and angry citizens. Interestingly, hunger had opened the eyes of citizens and there has been series of backlashes with the palliative packages.
There are many videos on social media showing people’s reactions to the various palliatives by political office holders and the local and state governments. Nigerians have expressed their displeasure in various ways about the show of shame that they have suffered in the last 2 weeks when the lockdown had began.
This time around, hunger seems to have reversed its actions because the warehouse where the packages in black packs are being kept has been broken into; my question is this, In whose kitchen will all the food donations eventually end? Who would have predicted a “Food Heist” occurring so soon. Barely two weeks into the lockdown and as at yesterday, a warehouse with palliatives was broken into in the Alagbado area of Lagos, due to the grievances of the common men on the streets.
The different palliatives being distributed by the government at all levels is facing different reactions and absolute criticism from the masses, as those on the lower-rung of the economy ladder are seriously grieving towards the present day government. It baffles one, the set parameters being used to determine the poorest of the poor will be a question for another day.
Despite billions of naira being donated by well-meaning Nigerians, agencies and organizations, in order to reduce the huge burden of containing the deadly disease and relieving the masses, food companies such as Flour Mill, Honeywell Mill, Funtana among others have not been found wanting in these donations. They’ve donated food items to the government in order to relieve the masses of the inconveniences and suffering being caused due to the lockdown from Covid19.
With all the donations from different sectors both government and private across the nation, the hope that these palliatives which had got into government coffers will eventually get to the suffering masses seem slim.
At the moment, they grieve about the quantity of the food items, the distribution model used in selecting the recipients, the distribution of money within selected Northern states. Ironically, these states are not badly hit by the Pandemic.
In a place like Lagos, the unorganized sector is the largest contributor to the economy, many artisans and traders who deal in flowing cash have been lock out of their daily living but they are not worth receiving palliatives from the state or federal government.
Recently at a vendor’s stand, one of those regular commentators there said, “all those donating huge sums of money to the government should have found a way of reaching out directly to the masses who really have a need rather than giving the funds to the government that might not account for it.
It behoves us as a people to ask these necessary questions, “who the beneficiaries of these donations and most importantly, in whose kitchen will all the food donations be prepared?” Hopefully, we are getting to the end of the lockdown gradually, “What will the government do with the food items in store Or will the government return the food donations to these donors after this pandemic?”
There is a Nigerian proverb that says, “it’s the in-house rat that tells the rat outside that there is food in the house.” Will this not amount to the rich getting overfed while the poor getting underfed.
My guess is as good as yours.