A group of Rights-holders of Ngwo community, Enugu State under the aegis of The Voice Nigeria project implemented by Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) has condemned moves by some entities to reduce its workforce to ease financial impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement signed by the leader and Champion, Ngwo Community, Mrs. Grace Oriaku and four others, described as dubious an ongoing secretive moves by some businesses to massively sack, demote and extort personnel mostly women of employment benefits in guise of unfair measures to ease financial impacts of COVID-19 in businesses.
“We recall that prior to the nationwide lockdown, women including the Rights-holders have been marginalised in all spheres of the economy including various inequalities that featured in under-paid or poorly paid employment rewards and other benefits.
“As a result, rights-holders constitute the vulnerable and socio-economic deprived group whose families live below poverty line, estimated at US$1.90 per person per day in 2019 World Bank Report.”
“We have observed so far that the lockdown directive by respective governments as enforced at all levels which was not accompanied by adequate and appropriate palliative measures has to a large extent amplified socio-economic and financial burdens on the women population in all spheres, especially the female-headed households, which are already rendered incapacitated to provide for themselves and their dependant families.
“This is in addition to the continued physical and emotional abuses that women including the rights-holders endure in their various homes and communities.
The group reiterated that it find it worrisome that instead of guaranteeing adequate support to the women, emerging reports are fingering some corporate entities in unsympathetic plans and shameless threats to extort from the worst-hit group.
“While we commend the recent effort by the National Assembly to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and citizens through a legislative framework titled “Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020” initiated by the House of Representatives, we are surprised at such surreptitious decision of some corporate entities to deliberately frustrate and feed fat on their personnel, especially the women; this is despite the proactive provisions itemised in the Bill in favour of corporate entities.
“As we are also not unaware of various palliative measures the Central Bank of Nigeria has opened to business for accessibility as part of the efforts to alleviate the financial consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, it is hopeful that duly registered businesses facing financial downturn would sincerely leverage such support, where necessary and avert throwing their female personnel into needless financial tension and anxiety.”
The group also urged on the President, Muhammadu Buhari to rapidly assent into the “Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020,” while it is transmitted to the Presidency by the National Assembly, to provide appropriate legislation and blue print to economic revival during and after the pandemic.
“We call for the adoption and full implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act across states to adequately sanction degrading and ill-treatment that women may be undergoing as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We demand prompt and appropriate relief intervention by the government to the women and other vulnerable groups at all levels to alleviate the ongoing dreaded impacts of the lockdown on them and their families.
“We call on corporate businesses to in spirit of patriotism shun action or decision that would be analogous to exacerbating unemployment rate and resultant socio-economic consequences in the country.
“We further encourage the media, civil society groups, labour unions and all well-meaning Nigerians to discourage deliberate and dubious moves by corporate entities to feed fat of the vulnerable groups, and heighten the nation’s socio-economic crises.”