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VOX POP: We were given 2 cups of rice as palliative, suffered hunger, Kwara residents speak on lockdown experience

...blame KWSG for lopsided distribution of Stimulus package

The stay-at-home order by the Kwara State Government, no doubt took its toll on the economic and social well being of residents. Speaking with MUMUNI ABDULKAREEM, AHMED AJIKOBI and MIKE ADEYEMI, Kwarans revealed how they were able to cope with and survive the lockdown. They also x-rayed state government performance in curtailing the spread COVID 19, the stimulus package distribution aimed at assuaging the ‘excruciating pain’ of the forced holiday.
Excerpts:
Palliative, KWSG need to do more – Joseph Adeyemo, Medical Doctor and Member, Kwara State Taskforce Committee on Covid-19
The measures put in place by the Kwara State Government to prevent the spread of the virus are commendable, but more still needs to be done. Government has been putting things in order to curtail the spread, but there is still room for improvement. The Kwara State Government still needs to do more in the area of palliative distribution to people, because that will help the stay- at-home policy and movement restrictions. When people stay at home they have to eat. So, in that area, I think the Government has to do more in order to be able to alleviate sufferings of the people, thereby helping them to obey the rules and regulations put in place. To the people of Kwara generally, my advice for them is to be hopeful; there is nothing that comes that does not go. This will surely pass and there will be life after Covid-19. My candid appeal to everybody is that we should be hopeful and keep fit.
Our lockdown experience unpalatable -Abdulfatai Alaba, Chairman, Kwara State Master Bakers Association
The market situation during the lockdown was not palatable for bakers in the state owing to hike in the cost of raw materials for our products. Members across the state had sorry tales as regards effect of the lockdown on their individual businesses, as a result of drop in sales for them. We, however, commend the state government for allowing us to go about our businesses during the period. On the palliative package, it was quite unfortunate that the distribution pattern was uneven.
Ease on lockdown, right step by KWSG – Bello Olarewaju, Member, Kwara State House of Assembly
Kwara State Government has taken the bull by the horn and that further attests to the pro-activeness on the part of the government. The palliative measure to alleviate the effect of the lockdown on people cut across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state and I think this gesture has gone a long way to ease the hardship of the people during the period.
It’s been a difficult experience – Matha Ugbaji, Student
The experience has been very difficult. Some of us travelled down to Ilorin to come and fend for ourselves and this CoVID-19 came suddenly with no provision of any kind from government. We have been indoors, so we are calling on government to do something. The palliative they shared didn’t get to us at Taiwo, Ilorin where I reside. The coordinators, sometime last month gave us just four cups of rice. I can’t say much on how the Governor is handling the situation, but people everywhere are crying for food.
I’ve been stranded in Ilorin- Precious Uzoigwe, Post Graduate Student
My experience is not very bad and not that good, it’s in-between. This is because there is no money; there is hunger and nobody to talk to especially coming down from Lagos and trapped in Kwara because of lockdown. What I observed in the area I live is very bad and touching. The downtrodden don’t have money and the lockdown has worsened their situation. I saw piles of food stuff in government house, but what gets to people is meagre. My advice is that if this lockdown will continue, government must provide what is reasonable as food and minimum of N10,000 each to the poor and vulnerable people for them to abide by rules and measures put in place to contain the spread; not just telling them to stay indoor without providing them what will sustain them during the period.
I had to rely on son for survival – Ajadi Oguntunji, Businessman
The lockdown was not easy at all, but I thank God that I am alive. The Kwara State government is trying its best to curb the spread of COVID 19 in the state. However, the state government promised to give palliatives but it did not get to residents of Gaa-Akanbi area in Ilorin, the state capital, where I reside. It is good that the lockdown has been relaxed as this will enable people to make money to cater for themselves. For someone like me I survive on daily income. I had to run to my son who fed me during the lockdown. I survived the stay-at-home by the grace of God.
Lockdown, hellish for me – Ebuka Humphery, Businessman
I experienced great hardship during the stay -at -home government directive. It has not been easy at all. The COVID 19 lockdown has largely affected my business. I couldn’t go to market to restock and currently prices of goods have gone up, hence there is low patronage. The state government must be commended on measures to contain spread of the virus based on the casualty rate when compared to that of some other states in the federation. But, the palliative package of government didn’t get to many people. On the ease of lockdown in the state I cannot say if it will help the situation or not, however, I observed that people are not observing social distancing; the financial institutions are overcrowded, cab drivers and commercial tricycle operators are not abiding by laid down directives.
I received 2 cups of rice as palliative from govt -Emmanuel Olatunji, Music Producer
There is urgent need for house- to- house test in Kwara State for the government to achieve success in the fight against COVID 19. This is expedient because I believe a lot of people have the virus but are asymptomatic. For the lockdown people were asked to stay at home without government adequately providing for their needs. The coverage was even very low. When they want to collect tax government knows how to get to citizens, for immunisation they know how to reach people but don’t know how to get to people when it comes to palliatives. In my case, a quarter bag of rice was given to a house with more than five families and we were given two cups of rice each and there was coverage of the distribution process where we were asked to thank government on camera. There is need for Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to monitor the distribution process for successful implementation.
COVID-19 exposes Kwara’s lack of standard database- Ismail Hassan, Businessman
This period has not been easy, but we thank God. Kwara State government by this COVID 19 experience must have seen need to create standard database for Kwarans because that’s where government goofed in the distribution of palliatives. The lockdown really affected me and others that are into small scale businesses and live on daily income. The ease on lockdown is dicey but people have to be responsible to prevent explosion.
It has affected my academic pursuit – Temidayo Afolayan, Student
The lockdown has affected the education sector of the country and halt academic activities in institutions. Although the state government is doing its part to prevent spread of the virus, but there’s room for improvement. People on their part should adhere to government directives to survive the ease on lockdown.
I spent all my savings to survive lockdown – Ayomide Adeshewa, Trader
The lockdown really affected my business life but I was able to survive by the grace of God. I spent all my savings to stock my home with essentials during that period. Staying at home idle was very boring for me because I am use to hustling. Well, the state government is trying going by measures put in place to prevent spread of the virus. For the pallatives, the cordinators came to our area to collate data and that was the last we saw of them. The ease on lockdown is a welcome idea as it will help boost economy of individuals but I will advice people to abide by government directives on social distancing.
State borders still porous -Oladele Solomon, Businessman
The security agencies in the state are not doing enough to curb the spread of COVID 19 in Kwara. Despite effort by the state government to prevent increase in number of cases the security agents are not helping matters. People from other states still travel down to our state unhindered and this can escalate the situation at hand. People are traveling in and out of the state at night, midnight and early in the morning. For members of the public we need to observe the social distance policy, which is not being taken serious presently. As regards palliatives from State government, I am not a beneficiary.
Kwara palliative distribution, lopsided – Akeem Adisa, Ilorin-based Legal Practitioner
The distribution of stimulus packages towards easing the pains of the people of the state, over the stay-at-home directive by the Kwara State Government is grossly inadequate. The incentive to the people was not enough as there was no proper mechanism in place for even distribution of the palliative. The whole process was marred by irregularities considering the ways and manner the said palliatives were distributed. The palliative package is ridiculous as what was given to people does not commensurate with what they are passing through. I think government was ill-advised on the proper means of getting the palliative down to the vulnerable people in our society. The palliative ought to have been distributed via each polling unit across the state. Had such measure been adopted, the stimulus package would have gotten to the real targeted people.

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