A network of women leaders and NGOs headed by women has called on the Federal Government to provide food and essential commodities for IDP shelters and host communities across the nation as palliative measures during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
The network, under the auspices of Women in Humanitarian Response in Nigeria Initiative (WiHRiNI), made this appeal in a statement signed by the National Coordinator, INSA Women Network, Ms Mimidoo Achakpa, on Tuesday in Abuja.
This followed the extension of 14 days lockdown by the government in FCT, Lagos and Ogun States due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) report as at 9.50 pm April 13, confirmed 343 cases of COVID-19, 10 deaths and 91 discharged cases.
According to the statement, the 2019-2021 Humanitarian Response Strategy for Nigeria estimates that over seven million people were affected by conflicts nationwide and were in need of food, protection and life-saving assistance, adding that the situation is further worsened by Coronavirus.
It further noted that COVID-19 pandemic has caused fear and anxiety amongst all, but more of economic hardship for the majority of Nigerians who live through the days by daily earning.
“This situation has a major adverse effect on Internally Displaced People across the country and in particular those residing in unrecognised/unregistered camps further reducing the dignity of indigent women, men and children, hampering their already limited access to vital resources including food and water.
“While the IDPs depend on interventions from government, INGOs, NGOs, etc, and other philanthropists some of them, mostly the men take up jobs including hawking and other menial jobs to at least always have food to eat to meet their basic obligations especially for those with their families.
“The women, on the other hand, suffer increased human rights abuse as they face pressure such as demand for sex for food and other legitimate amenities and also have other responsibilities to cater like children’s education, health suffers, to mention a few.
“We appeal to the federal government to prioritise distributing relief to the IDPs even as we call for immediate assistance of food items and other relief materials to them, in the instance of this lockdown and no access to menial jobs that some of them engage in,” it added.
The group, however, lauded the federal government Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme and the release of 46,000 metric tons of rice, 36,495 kegs of vegetable oil, and other items valued at N3.2 billion by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The network consists of Women’s Right to Education Programme (WREP), Oasis Restoration Foundation, WANEP-Nigeria, IANSA Women Network Nigeria.
Others are Kebetkache Women Development Centre, Gender and Environmental Risk Reduction Initiative, FOMWAN Gender Equality, Peace and Development Centre and Allamin Foundation for Peace and Development.
WiHRiNI network was created to bring together women humanitarian leaders involved in humanitarian/emergency response to enhance strategic collaborations and information sharing for an effective, better coordinated, timely and principled humanitarian response in Nigeria. (NAN)