Why Lagos State Government Needs to Reach Out to Communities on COVID 19 – CSO

Why Lagos State Government Needs to Reach Out to Communities on COVID 19 – CSO

Some civil society organizations have commended the Lagos State Government for its handling of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic in a state with an estimated population of 23 million people.

Gbenga Komolafe, General Secretary, Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON), Chief Raymond Gold, Co-ordinator, Housing and Community Renewal, Nigerian Federation of Poor/Informal Settlers (Federation), Dr Taibat Lawson, Center for Housing and Sustainable Development, University of Lagos, Dr. Temilade Sesan, Sankofa Policy Lab, Betty Abah, Center for Child 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 civil society organizations, testing and advocacy for COVID-19 should be expanded to low-income communities, with clear protocols outlined for reporting and responding to suspected cases, given that these communities are densely populated

– Prioritize special interventions in primary and secondary health services, as well as isolation of suspected cases of COVID-19 from local communities, to avoid spiraling infection in densely populated areas and for their safe treatment.

We also observe with concern that current palliative measures are not having the desired effect, as distribution is limited, fueling protests and violence in many low-income communities.

We are therefore asking the LASG to consider the following proposals to achieve inclusive and sustainable Covid19 palliative care for the vulnerable:

– That LASG allows individuals, corporate and faith-based organizations with proven commitment to local communities to direct the distribution of material support to those communities

– LASG should consider a time-bound financial support package for duly registered small-scale trading and marketing cooperatives to be disbursed through individual BVN accounts. International development assistance may be used to offset the costs of such payments

– To consider a mixed strategy of cash transfers + in-kind support for women in need, especially those who are unbanked.

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

beyond that operational food distribution chains must be open – with transporters and local retailers allowed to operate responsibly – during the lockdown period.

These food distributors and market women provide essential services. We especially recommend that the Neighborhood Corps and local market associations support the implementation 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

– The Milya 12 Traders’ Association normalizes prices and keeps them constant.

For this period, a subsidy mechanism could be established where the government pays the difference to traders if they have to sell below cost.

– Access to free water and hand washing stations is provided in all crowded communities

– Guaranteed regular waste clearance in communities not covered by the DPU and the LAWMA bridge project

– Special measures must be taken to provide temporary housing and feeding for the homeless to ensure the social distancing and isolation requirements of this very vulnerable segment of the population.

We recognize and applaud the efforts of the Lagos State Government to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the state

We recognize the State Government’s efforts to provide palliative care for the elderly and vulnerable, particularly those whose livelihoods have been disrupted by market closures and travel restrictions. We note that the urban poor are most vulnerable in this period of global health pandemic and economic uncertainty.

Persistent displacement in recent decades has increased overcrowding in many low-income areas, making all palliative measures even more necessary.

We welcome the efforts of all individual and corporate entities supporting LASG’s efforts in these challenging times, and gratefully acknowledge the solidarity of international donors and development organizations.

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