As many Nigerians and households are already being faced with biting economic crunch from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) has called on the Federal Government to take immediate steps to ameliorate the plight of poor Nigerians.
The council specifically asked the government to distribute cash to Nigerians through direct cash transfer as well as food items to the poor to cushion the impact of the imminent lockdown of the country as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
President of National Youth Council of Nigeria, Comrade Solomon Adodo, who made the call while addressing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, observed that the poor in the country have been endangered by the COVID-19 crisis with the situation being aggravated by the lockdown in some states of the federation.
Adodo insisted that if Nigeria is to avoid the way of Italy, holistic measures including a lockdown of the country should be adopted to curtail further spread of the pandemic.
He said the council was, however, worried that ordinary Nigerians have not been captured by the governments at all levels in the combat against COVID-19.
He said: “The cases are already rising at an alarming geometric progression, Lagos and Kaduna States are on lockdown.
The Federal Capital Territory and other states will soon follow if we must avoid the path to Italy.
“The position of the National Youth Council of Nigeria is that the Federal Government is making some efforts. But there is more it can do if it activates the necessary platforms and garner divergent views, most of which may not be purely medical.
“The medical supplies provided by Mr Jack Ma to combat COVID-19 in Nigeria should be immediately deployed to use in a very transparent and accountable manner.
“The Federal and State governments should immediately commence the free distribution of hand sanitizers, face masks other health essentials and food to all Nigerians using very efficient networks and the Youth Council is ready to raise altruistic volunteers to this effect.
“There should be an immediate direct transfer of funds into the bank account of all Nigerians to enable them to survive during the imminent national lockdown.
“Volunteers should be engaged for thorough community sensitisation and enforcement of the National lockdown while taking precautionary measures.
“New health facilities should be built specifically to cater to the care of COVID-19 patients. While efforts should be stepped up to build world-class health facilities to cope with any other such health emergency that may arise in future.
“The government at all levels should plan (after the COVID-19 crisis) towards building industrial cities that can produce items to meet local demands.
“The present situation has shown we will be totally helpless if we don’t depend almost entirely on imports.
“We call on all youths to refrain from all forms of crimes and remain calm as we shall continuously constructively engage with the government to address our needs in this dire period,” he said.