Why Lagos State Government Must Reach-Out To Communities on COVID 19 — CSOs

Some civil society organisations have commended the Lagos state government on the manner it is handling the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in a state with an estimated population of 23million people.

Gbenga Komolafe, Secretary General, Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON), Chief Raymond Gold,Coordinator, Housing and Community Upgrade,Nigerian Slum / Informal Settlement Federation (Federation), Dr Taibat Lawawson, Centre for Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos,.Dr. Temilade Sesan, Sankofa Policy Lab, Betty Abah, Centre for Children’s Health Education,

Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE Nigeria), Olamide Udoma — Ejorh, Lagos Urban Development Initiative, Deji Akinpelu, Rethink Cities Initiative, Folashade Adeboyejo, POLYBRIQ and Segun Ogunleye, Urbanovate Enterprise, signed the press statement issued.

According to the CSOs, COVID-19 testing and advocacy be extended to low income communities, with clear protocols on reporting and responding to suspected cases outlined, bearing in mind that these communities are densely populated

— That special interventions in primary and secondary health care services are given priority, as well as separating suspected COVID-19 cases from local communities to avoid a spiraling infection in the densely populated areas and for treating them safely.

We also observe with concern that the current palliative measures are not achieving their desired effect, in that distribution is limited, thus propelling protest and violence in many low-income communities.

We therefore request the LASG to consider the following propositions to achieve inclusive and sustainable Covid19 palliative care for the vulnerable:

— That LASG allows individuals, corporate and faith-based organisations with proven engagement in local communities to lead with the distribution of material support to these communities

— That LASG should consider a time limited financial support package to duly registered small-scale trade and market cooperatives, which will be disbursed through individual BVN accounts. International Development Assistance can be used to offset the costs of such payments

— That a mixed strategy of cash transfer +in kind support be considered for the women in need, especially for the unbanked.

— Due to the fact that Lagos relies on food distribution networks from other parts of Nigeria and

beyond, that the operative food distribution chains be kept open — with transporters and local retailers allowed to move around responsibly — during the lock down period.

These food distributors and market women are rendering essential services. We especially recommend that the Neighborhoods Corps and local market associations support the enforcement of social distancing protocols for both buyers and sellers in these markets.

Situations like these call for price control measures that will ensure price stability

— That the Mile 12 traders’ association normalises prices and keeps them constant.

A subsidy mechanism in which government pays the difference to traders if they have to sell below the cost price can be established for this period.

— That access to free water and hand washing stations is ensured in all crowded communities

— That regular clearing of waste is ensured in communities not covered by PSPs and LAWMA’s bridge project

— That special arrangements should be made to provide temporary accommodation and feeding for the homeless in order to guarantee the requirements for social distancing and isolation for this very vulnerable layer of the population.

We acknowledge and commend the efforts of the Lagos state government to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19across the state

We recognize the efforts of the state government to provide palliatives for the elderly and vulnerable, especially those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by market closure and travel restrictions. We note that the urban poor are the most vulnerable in this period of global health pandemic and economic uncertainty.

Constant displacements over the past decades have increased overcrowding in many low -income areas, making all the palliative measures even more necessary.

We salute the efforts of all individual and corporate entities supporting the efforts of LASG in these challenging times and we gratefully acknowledge the solidarity of international donors and development organisations.

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