The Lagos State Chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) is dismayed that the Federal Government and the Lagos State government have continued to lock down the state without workable palliative being put in PLACE.
For us, it is the height of insensitivity and callousness to restrict movement without a meaningful alternative survival plan in an economy where the vast majority are daily small income earners such as artisans, traders, etc.
While we recognize lockdown as a necessity to curb the spread of Covid-19, we are equally of the opinion that a government and ruling elite that truly care for the masses would have consulted with the trade unions, pro-labour organisations, farmers, traders associations etc., with a view to ushering in comprehensive palliatives that will include cash donations to the working masses as well as workable plans on how to distribute food, medicines and other consumables during the period of lockdown.
The Lagos State Governor recently announced a stimulus package that entails distribution of some food items to 200,000 households in the first phase and to last for the period of 14 days COVID-19 lockdown. As far as we are concerned, 200, 000 is a small percentage of the number of working class and poor people’s households which requires support at this period. We insist that relief materials must get to all workers and poor people’s families including the homeless and the unemployed. At the same time, we are concerned that this stimulus package, which will be costing the government billions of Naira is devoid of transparency and democratic management and the funds may be susceptible to looting while most of the food stuff will also be stolen by the privileged few. So far, there has been widespread disenchantment towards the lockdown without food to eat amongst the poor masses and complaints that the Lagos State stimulus is not reaching them in the communities.
In the same vein, President Buhari’s stimulus for the poorest is like a bucket of water in an ocean.
It must be noted that unlike top political office holders and the rich in general who must have stocked their store of food stuff and consumables that could last they and their families longer time and who have enough money to buy additional items even if the lockdown last two YEARS, the many workers and the poor can hardly survive few days of lockdown
We are therefore demanding that the Lagos State government and the federal government should subject the stimulus package and relief palliatives to open, transparent and democratic management by elected representatives of the trade unions, pro-people organizations and associations.
We are also demanding adequate funding of the stimulus package to include cash donations and distribution of food and consumables to the poor. This relief committee will report daily to the public how much funds have been spent and how the funds and food items were disbursed. We also demand that the cash donations to the poor should be N50,000 to all working class and the poor households.
We call on the Lagos State Councils of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, United Labour Congress and Federation of Informal Workers’ Organizations of Nigeria should organise independent community-based control committees.
Comrade Rufus Olusesan Shoyombo Monsuru
Chairperson Publicity Secretary