COVID-19 lockdown: MAMA Centre wants palliative for citizens, vulnerable groups

NEWS DIGEST – The Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) said it is seriously concerned by the lockdown directive issued by President Muhammadu Buhari, and how it will affect Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states, in the absence of a well-defined palliative measures to ease the plights of the vulnerable groups against the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Its Executive Director, Barr. Ola E. Onyegbula, noted that women constitute about 50% of the Nigerian population and out of this only about 35% of them are involved in any sort of entrepreneurial activity which can be classified as micro, small, medium and large enterprises.

He said they are worried that the new pronouncement, if not accompanied by adequate and extensive palliative measures, would to large extent render the women—especially the female-headed households whose livelihoods depend on daily activities for survival, incapacitated to provide for themselves and their dependant families.

“As we are not unaware of the reported trend of abuses of market women by security agents in some states where the lockdown was earlier imposed for non-compliance to the pronouncement by respective State Governments.

“We condemned in totality all forms of degrading treatments or abuses against innocent women and extension market, whose government owned the fundamental responsibility to secure and support with adequate basic necessities as relief measures to command compliance to the lockdown.

“Given the ongoing trend in reported cases of pandemic in the country, we are concerned on the existing instituted level of maternal and child care across health facilities to avert mother-to-child transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

“With the existing level of poverty, insecurity and youth unemployment in the country, we find it imperative for the government at all levels to implement stringent relief measures to mitigate socio-economic deprivation and social vices that might be triggered by the lockdown.

“We therefore demand prompt and appropriate relief intervention by the government at all levels to the women and other vulnerable groups to alleviate anticipated impacts of the lockdown on them and their families.

“We call for immediate institution of appropriate measures and procedures across all maternal health care units at facility levels to avert mother-to-child transmission of the virus.

“While we demand total respect and protection for the dignity of women who lack the financial capacity to contain the burdens of the lockdown, as they work to provide for themselves and families, we call on respective governments to investigate and sanction reported abuse of women who are largely affected by the lockdown in their domain, the Executive Director stressed.