With Covid-19, Nigerians Want FG to Focus on Food Security, Tackle Poverty

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Obinna Chima

A survey has shown that majority of Nigerians would like the federal government to focus on preventing the spread of the Covid-19 as well as ensuring food security and poverty eradication as a matter of priority.

This was disclosed in a poll that was sponsored and conducted by Infotrak Research and Consulting Nigeria. The survey was conducted between April 28th and May 3rd, 2020. Interviews were conducted through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI). A sample of 1,000 respondents was interviewed to represent Nigeria’s adult population and the poll covered the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. It generated 99 per cent response rate.

Infotrak is a professional research company that was founded in 2004 following the vision of the founder to provide the Pan-African market with suitable information solutions required to sustain the needs of the ever-growing economies

While 66 per cent of the respondents want government to tackle the spread of the deadly virus, 60 per cent stated that there was a need to focus on food security and poverty. In addition, the respondents also identified unemployment (29%); corruption (27%); high cost of living (26%); insecurity/insurgency (19%); access to healthcare (14%) and poor infrastructure (6%) as areas requiring attention.

“While most Nigerians are quite well versed with the prescribed protective measures for safeguarding against the Covid-19, some knowledge gap still exists,” it stated.
For instance, the survey pointed out that 39 per cent of Nigerians think the threat of the virus was being exaggerated; 32 per cent think it’s better to take their families to the village to protect them from Covid-19, and 22 per cent of Nigerians think everyone who contracts Covid-19 dies.

Further, the findings of the survey showed that 30 per cent of the respondents believe that Covid-19 cannot kill; 27 per cent think the vulnerable groups like the old, youth and people with pre-existing conditions can’t contract Covid-19 and 22 per cent think that drinking of alcohol can prevent one from contracting the virus.

Also, 18 per cent of the respondents stated that the virus is a disease for the rich, while 15 per cent believe that black people and Africans cannot contract the virus.

“Despite the increase in Covid-19 cases in Nigeria, an overwhelming majority of Nigerians feel that they are unlikely to contract Covid-19, suggesting that most people feel removed from the pandemic.

“Half of Nigerians; 50 per cent, think that the worst is behind us with regards to the Covid-19,” it added.

On March 30, President Muhammadu Buhari officially addressed Nigerians on the existence of Covid-19 in the country and urged citizens to take the necessary precautionary measures to safeguard their health. He also imposed a lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory for 14 days with exemption of only essential services. He had stressed the need for Nigerians to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.

The president had also announced palliative care programme to the most vulnerable citizens through the Ministry of Social Development to support them during the lockdown period.

He further addressed the nation on 13th of April, announcing that due to the continued spread of the virus, the lockdown had been extended for another period of 14 days and that beneficiaries of the social welfare packages would be increased to cover more households of the most vulnerable on government’s economic stimulus programme aimed at cushioning the negative impact of the pandemic.

Since then, the president, through his Presidential Task Force, has continued to announce measures to ease the lockdown so as to preserve lives and livelihoods.