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Professor Ango Abdullahi of Northern Elders Forum
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Hardship: Northern Elders Forum Concerned over COVID-19 Lockdown

Worried by absence of adequate palliative care by government at the federal and state levels to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown and the attendant pains the measure has caused poorer citizens in the country, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has pressed for massive distribution of food to the people.

The Northern Elders maintained that the absence of any serious effort by the federal and state governments is raising doubts over the effectiveness of the lockdown in the long term.

Professor Ango Abdullahi of Northern Elders ForumThe Convenor of the Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, in a statement insisted that “Governments must, as a matter of extreme urgency and national security, embark on the massive distribution of food and other essentials to the poor in particular.

“Mistakes made in some parts of the country which gave citizens no opportunities to prepare for lockdowns are being compounded by failures to follow through with provisions of assistance in forms of essentials of life such as food. Promises are not being honored, leading to erosion of faith in authorities by citizens and violations of lockdown orders”, he stated.

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According to the Forum there is rising frustration and anger among the populace, which all governments must address immediately.

“Resources must be released to enable distribution of food and other essentials in a transparent manner,” the forum said, insisting that the efforts of governments at containing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic will be more effective if the country was better prepared to deal with it.

“All further measures should reflect the highest standards of leadership and responsibility of governments and other sources to support their effective implementation.

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“Support in terms of assistance should be contingent on the degree of compliance with essential regulations by governments and citizens.

“This is a national and global crisis that requires national unity and collaboration, and no one should be allowed to divert attention from efforts at containment, or divert resources meant to assist particularly the poor.

“The federal government must lead in this direction, and should, in addition, lead a long-term assessment of this pandemic on the survival of our economy and that of the African continent.”, the forum said.

Commending the contributions of individuals and corporate bodies that have donated cash and materials towards managing the effects of the pandemic and reducing hardships occasioned by it, the Northern Elders sympathised with suffering citizens.

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“We also commend the restraint and discipline of Nigerians who have heeded the instructions and advice of the authorities to adopt measures that have greatly limited their abilities to pursue legitimate livelihoods as well as their freedom.

“The Forum sympathizes with families of Nigerians who lost lives as a result of the infection of the virus or who have contracted it, and joins millions in praying for their recovery.

“Northern Elders Forum commiserates with Nigerians over the various effects of the COVID 19 pandemic which is now threatening lives and livelihood and causing unprecedented concerns and misery among the population.”

It called on citizens to continue to observe measures that would protect them from the COVID-19 virus, even in the face of hardships.

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