COVID-19: SW youths call for pay cut for public office holders
By Samuel Ogunsona
Youths in the South West have called for immediate cut down of salaries and emoluments of public office holders at the Federal and State levels.
In a statement made available to Irohinoodua on Monday, the South West YouthForum, (SWYF) also urged the Federal Government to provide alternative measures to minimize the economic impact of Covid-19 instead of the total lockdown. The group said hunger has affected some 10m homes in Nigeria since the lockdown began.
The group in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Engineer Biola OttunCoker said “We also use this medium to call on all well-meaning Nigerians to direct their palliatives and donations to people using the existing community structure rather than the federal government and state governments. The outbreak of covid 19 has further exposed the level of short-sightedness of the present government.”
According to her, in 2019, The World Poverty Clock revealed that 91,885,874 people in Nigeria now live in extreme poverty adding that instead of addressing this menace to avert its consequences on the populace, Nigeria government went ahead to budget 37 Billion for National Assembly to renovate the NASS complex that was constructed at a cost of N10.7 billion ahead of the return to democracy in 1999. Statistics from World Poverty Programme (WFP) states”
Coker said further “Persistent poverty affects more than half the population. In addition, Nigeria is also subject to periodic droughts and floods; this has had an adverse impact on agricultural output and increased the vulnerability of populations, especially in rural areas. Around 110 million Nigerians, representing over 60 percent of the total population, live below the poverty line.”
According to Minister for Labour and Productivity, Sen. Chris Ngige, the unemployment rate will reach 33.5 per cent by 2020. Nigeria’s informal economy accounts for 65% of GDP – IMF.
He said with all these and many more statistical tools that can be used to redirect the economy on the path of growth, politicians are busy sharing the proceeds from oil while asking for prayer and support from the masses.
Coker said further “With outbreak of convid 19, one expects palliative measure to be directed to vast Nigerians, especially those in the informal sectors of the economy that live on daily income but, the revised is the case. Instead the government decided to add more salts to injury of majority of Nigerians by declaring Lockdown.
She said the government must listen to poor Nigerians, adding that majority of Nigerians affected by the LOCKDOWN are people in informal sector, who live by daily earnings.
She said it is high insensitivity and act of deliberate incognite to keep locking down the poor masses that are already living below poverty line even with their daily wages without concrete palliative approach.
Coker said “We demand that Nigeria Government should stop treating Nigerians like dogs with palliatives that cannot sustain a family for day. Imagine Federal government distributing spoilt rice to her citizens”
The group wants the government to combine lockdown with palliatives,
cut emoluments of public office holders, and that considering the peculiar nature of Lagos, total lockdown is not possible.
Coker added “The honest truth is that a government that has abandoned its people to their fate in abject life of penury, hopelessness and environmental archaism for many, many years cannot just lock-up her citizens to hunger. A government that has no savings to cuisine the effect of economic shock for just Six Months, should reason how to sustain the populace against hunger.”