By Olusegun Odunewu
The Federal Government may be breaking its own rules on social distancing as a means of curbing spread of coronavirus following modalities adopted for distribution of its N20, 000 palliatives measures in Abuja on April 1.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast on Monday, announced the payment of N20, 000 as a measure to cushion the effect of the lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT on the poor and vulnerable households.
According to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya, the payment of N20, 000 each to five thousand beneficiaries started on Wednesday at Kwali Area Council in Abuja.
“Beneficiaries are entitled to N5, 000 every month; however, the payment of N20, 000 now to each beneficiary is for four mouths. It is going to happen all over the country, but we are starting with FCT, Lagos and Ogun. These are the frontline states. Other states will follow.
“With the current pandemic and circumstances on ground, this amount will go a long way to support the families in their daily lives,” she was quoted to have said.
However, the modalities being used for the distribution may further endangered the lives of many Nigerians.
One of the measures advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) to curb the spread of the deadly virus is social distancing, and this informed why countries across the globe, Nigeria inclusive, are ordering their citizens to stay at a home for a period of time.
According to experts, SARS-CoV-2’s rapid spread is likely due to the movements of people with no or very mild symptoms — namely, those who are unaware that they even have the virus. That is why social distancing is such an important containment measure, they explain.
At least, people are advised to maintain 1 metre (3 feet) distance to stay safe.
But in distributing the palliative funds, many beneficiaries at Kwali Area Council were seen on queue waiting to collect the handouts, and surprisingly, only a few, specifically, the minister’s entourage that wore protective masks.
The beneficiaries, according to released photographs showing the minister handing over the relief packages, wore no protective masks nor hand gloves, and were seen cluster together.