A SURVEY report by SB Morgen intelligence in conjunction with the Open Societies Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), has revealed that about 98.8 percent of Nigerians said they did not receive any form of palliatives from the government or anyone during the lockdown imposed as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, about 1.2 percent Nigerians said they received some form of support from the Federal Government in terms of loans and interventions.
They, however, said the support given to them by the government was not enough.
“When asked if they received any form of government assistance or palliatives, the survey showed that 98.8 percent of respondents claimed not to have received any form of support from the government.”
The report further added that about “1.2 percent of people surveyed said they received some form of support through one of the following channels: MarketMoni, FarmerMoni, FGN funded loans issued by the banking industry, food distribution from the local government collection points or through other proxies.”
While “a large portion of the group that received government support indicated that the support received was insufficient. This comes even after the Federal Government announced an expansion of the number of households that would benefit from the direct distribution of food/ cash from 2.6 million households to 3.6 million households.”
In February 2020, when Nigeria had her first case of the COVID-19 confirmed, the Federal Government responded by ordering a total lockdown of both the social and economic lives of the country.
In addition, President Muhammadu Buhari in a state broadcast also ordered a total lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), because of earlier confirmation of people with the virus in these areas.
Faced with the dire economic challenges the lockdown was posing to ordinary Nigerians, the Federal Government initiated the distribution of palliatives to Nigerians through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
The palliatives which were in forms of foods and monetary donations were equally coordinated and supervised by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq,
Speaking at a briefing by the presidential task force on COVID-19, on the 1st of April, the minister said her ministry had “11,045,537 individuals, 35 states, 453 local governments, 4,946 wards, 47,698 communities and 2,644,495 households on the national social register of poor and vulnerable households,” that will benefit from government intended palliatives.
Subsequently, on the 13th of April, media reports had it that the president had ordered that the country’s social register be rejigged to one million people within the space of two weeks so that more people could benefit from the Federal Government palliatives.
Dataphyte, an online news medium, reported that the Federal Government claimed it had spent at least N2 billion on cash transfer to 148,176 beneficiaries in 22 states to cushion the economic effect and hardship caused by the coronavirus lockdown.
According to the report, the sum of N20,000 each was given to 2.6 million households between January to April 2020, under its Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) programme.
The report concluded that the lack of a comprehensive national database has continued to be problematic for Nigeria. It maintained that without a unified database to go by, the distribution of palliatives was bound to be abysmal.