Caring For Nigerians In A Lockdown : Emma Ogebe Writes SGF Mustapha On Palliatives Distribution

The Oasis Reporters

May 7, 2020

SGF Boss Mustapha.

Boss Mustapha ESQ

Secretary to the Govt of the Federation of Nigeria &

Chairman Presidential COVID-19 Response Taskforce

Dear SGF,


I write as a concerned Nigerian in Diaspora concerning the ravaging COVID19 pandemic and the impending catastrophic impact on Nigerians if urgent steps are not immediately taken.

In just one weekend, 9000 people died of COVID19 in the USA. The total deaths now exceeds 60,000 Americans – more Americans died in two months than died in the entire Vietnam war.

At a point, New Yorkers were dying at a rate of 100 an hour – 2,500 in one day. One hospital in New York has lost 30% of their staff to the coronavirus. In America. And New York had up to 20,000 ventilators.

So what do you imagine will happen in Nigeria which lacks comparable medical infrastructure as you recently pointed out?

A professor told me that the mortality projection for Africa is in the millions. I asked him “what can we do to stave off such a catastrophe?”

He responded that his people say, “a cow that has no tail, it is God who shoos away the flies for it”.

We barely have ventilators. Even if they’re functioning, there is no electricity. Even if there was electricity, they are not enough. Even if they are enough, people can’t afford medical care. Prevention is the sole cure!

If high profile Nigerians including emirs, professors and presidential personnel could fall to the Coronavirus, then what hope is there for the common man and the poor masses?

It is imperative, sir, that citizens are provided the tools to survive in a lockdown so that the threat of hunger doesn’t force them out to face death by corona.

Since I returned from Nigeria six weeks ago, I have remained on lockdown after my quarantine. The US Government is providing us a stimulus check to weather the storm.

It is imperative that Nigeria maintains a well-managed lockdown with a human face.

Below are urgent recommendations for a humanitarian lockdown survival intervention:

A. Caring for the citizens welfare in a lockdown :

1. Provide 5000N to all BVN bank accounts with a balance below 10,000N

– If unclaimed within two weeks, reverse the deposit to avoid wastage

– advise those who do not need it to regift the money to those in their neighborhood who are non-banked or in dire need

2. Provide palliative distribution at all INEC polling stations nationwide except in highbrow communities such as banana island etc.

Distribute with use of PVC per household to avoid duplication or double dipping

3. Transfer money to all National ID card holders who have no bank account numbers or BVN.

They can use the MasterCard feature of the National ID card to access cash at the ATM

4. In villagers, empower the chief to distribute relief by clans and clan heads by families.

5. Work with telcos to suspend VAT on recharges so that citizens will spend on telecoms as they stay busy online indoors.

6. Funds for citizen welfare can come from the EU €50 million donations, the $3 Billion World Bank COVID19 loan, the $150 Sovereign Wealth Fund drawdown or the billions donated by banks and private donors.

Good governance isn’t rocket science and we already have this infrastructure in place in Nigeria that could serve as a social security backbone.

B. order to shut down online teaching. No sane society should impede the development of its children’s minds. In this case, schools that have the ability to adapt to online education should do so. Incidentally my children and orphans of Boko Haram terrorism who are in university and high school here in America have reverted to online schooling and are doing it from home under lockdown. What a sensible govt will do is

1. allow the other institutions that couldn’t transition to online schooling to stay open during summer vac to enable them catch up

2. Postpone national exams till all are caught

3. Commission Open University to share its template for distance learning to other institutions

4. Ditto with Nomadic education agency

5. Enlist Radio Nigeria for remote learning

6. Enlist NTA for remote learning

7. Engage the Telecom companies similarly.

This is not complicated but our leaders have to be creative, responsive and transformative for us to survive this existential threat that has ground down the global economy and paralyzed advanced nations.

At present, Nigeria lacks the capacity to bury hundreds, if what we are seeing in Kano is an indicator, not to talk of treating thousands or testing millions.

Prevention must be our first and primal line of defense against this plague.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Emmanuel Ogebe



Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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