Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
A civil rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, yesterday mocked political office holders in Nigeria who have been forced to stay in the country against their wish because of the ravaging effects of the dreaded corona virus.
Intersociety in a statement released in Onitsha signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Head of the Organization, Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head of Democracy and Good Governance, and three others said that as dreaded, terrifying, devastating and menacing as ‘Coronavirus’ or COVID-19 is, globally; there is ‘positive’ side of the virus in Nigeria.
“Whether it is a ‘US-China trade war generated’ lab-room killer-virus or a natural biological killer-virus, the pandemic has somehow become ‘a blessing in disguise’ to the long suffering citizens and political landscape of Nigeria. The ‘paradises’ (i.e. Europe, North America, the Gulf and China) of the Nigerian public office holders and their former holders have been made hellish by CONVID-19; forcing them to run back to the ‘hell’ they created back home.
The group said that for the first time in the past 22 years or since 1998, most, if not all the country’s estimated 17,500 key public office holders and their former occupants have returned home to stay with the general citizens; to be confronted by the state or public infrastructures and social services they left in ruins over the decades.
It said that negatively speaking, it may be correct to say that many of Nigeria’s 17,500 Public Officers & their families are presently living with Coronavirus infection.
“Following the return to civil rule in late May 1999, Nigerian leaders let loose, abandoned the country and its governance including fixing the country’s key infrastructures and social services and relocated to the developed and other fast developing countries which became ‘their second homes’ and ‘paradises’ on earth
“In the past 22 years till date, none of the 17,500 key public office holders including those who served before them is locatable or met in office for one month without having him or she traveled abroad for leisure and pleasure.
“Some have gone to the extent of relocating and operating from ‘their abroad residences or hotels’; flying in and out to work. Electioneering is the only time some of them particularly the elected are seen around after which they disappear or retire to same ‘paradises’ across borders.
“When barely seen in the country, they would ring themselves and their family members with thousands of armed public security personnel so as to ward off citizens’ anger and resentment over their colossal failure in office but Coronavirus has forced all of them to stay at home now.
The group said that other than verbal directives for partial shutdown of schools and government institutions and restriction of movements, there are no signs of Government provision of remedial packages or interventions.
“Government both federal and state is so insensitive that preventive and precautionary therapies and kits sold at open markets have recoded gallop increases with same Government turning a blind eye.
“For instance, a carton of facemasks sold at N10, 000 to N14, 000 in January 2020 is now sold at N80, 000 and above. The prices of sanitizers and chloroquine have also increased by 400% and upwards. The investigation into the above was carried out by Intersociety on 23rd and 24th March 2020 at the Onitsha Tools & Allied and Drug Markets. This is just to cite but few” the group said.