Northern Elders Forum has commiserated with Nigerians over the various effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which, according to them, “is now threatening lives and livelihood and causing unprecedented concerns and misery among the population.”
The Forum in a statement signed by its Convener, Prof. Ango Abdullahi noted that “the efforts of governments at containing the spread of this virus, and notes further that the nation should have been better prepared to deal with it.”
The forum commended the contributions of individuals and corporate bodies that have made major contributions towards managing the effects of the pandemic and reducing hardships occasioned by it.
“We also commend the restraint and discipline of Nigerians who have heeded to the instructions and advise of the authorities to adopt measures that have greatly limited their abilities to pursue legitimate livelihoods as well as their freedom.
“The Forum sympathises 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.”
The Northern Elders Forum expressed concern over “the absence of any serious effort by federal and state governments to cushion the effects of the necessary restrictions imposed on citizens are raising doubts over the effectiveness of these measures in the long term, and threatening to scuttle all efforts to contain the spread the virus.”
According the Forum, “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 honoured, leading to erosion of faith in authorities by citizens and violations of lockdown orders.
“There is rising frustration and anger among the population which all governments must address immediately.
“Resources must be released to enable distribution of food and other essentials in a transparent manner.
“The Forum calls on citizens to continue to observe measures that will protect them from the virus, even in the face of hardships.
“Governments must, as a matter of extreme urgency and national security, immediately embark on massive distribution of food and other essentials to the poor in particular.
“All further measures should reflect the highest standards of leadership and responsibility of governments and other sources to support their effective implementation.
“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 statement read.