LAGOS State government has announced ambitious plans to feed 100,000 youths daily as part of the measures required to cushion the effect of the extended lockdown as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to World Health Organisation statistics, only 373 have been infected with the dreaded Covid-19 virus in Nigeria, of which 11 have sadly died. Despite the pandemic not being brutal in Nigeria, the government has announced several preventative measure, including a total lockdown in Lagos and Ogun states and the Federal Capital Territory.
This has led to widespread hardship due to the unique nature of the economies in Nigeria’s urban areas that are dominated by petty artisans who earn their living on a daily basis. As a result of the government’s recent decision to extend the lockdown by 14 more days as from last Monday, unrest has started to grow with crime on the rise and urban youths starting to get restive.
Responding to this fresh challenge Governor Babajide Sanwoolu said that his administration would continue to roll out various palliatives to cushion the inevitable and harsh economic effect of the lockdown on the citizens. He added that his government is also cleaning up its data from the various social registers to get a list of the truly vulnerable and economically challenged persons to enable it to remit some cash to them.
Governor Sanwoolu said: “I am pleased today to announce additional palliatives for our citizens to further ameliorate the inconvenience occasioned by this extended lockdown. In the next couple of days, we will commence a daily Food Kitchen programme, which will see us aim to feed about 100,000 people daily.
“This will largely target youths. We are identifying local food vendors who will pilot this programme and ensure that the process of cooking and serving of the meals adhere strictly to public health guidelines.”
He added that the state government intends to do the cash transfers by the end of the week to a minimum of 250,000 indigent citizens.
In addition, Governor Sanwoolu said that an order had been issued to the police, the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority and the Vehicle Inspection Service to release all impounded vehicles arrested for minor traffic offences from March 1, 2020 to date. He added that this directive took effect following the end of the initial lockdown.
“I am also pleased to announce that all the micro, small and medium enterprises and small and medium enterprises who have taken the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund loans and other government programme loans will enjoy a three months moratorium. This will further help to cushion the effect of the lack of economic activities occasioned by the lockdown,” the governor said.
According to the governor, in the first and second phases of the programme, the government was able to reach over 200,000 households, which include the vulnerable, physically challenged and the elderly. He added that over 18,000 people have accessed free medical services in line with this directive, with 600 children given birth to for free under the scheme.