TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Concerned Chiefs and Citizens of Niger Delta has raised the alarm over alleged unfair treatment of some states by Federal Government in the containment of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Leader of the group, Omubo Harry, who spoke in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the Federal Government should not prefer politics to the lives of Nigerians.
Harry said, although the Federal Government, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), had shown commitment in handling the scourge, it was dangerous to ignore other states, particularly those in Niger Delta region, and be attending to a few others.
He noted that Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, had demanded his state’s share of the Federal Government support with justification that the state, as the hub of the oil industry, an international air and seaport state, deserves a reasonable sum as support to boost needed facilities.
Harry declared: “We ask for an end to these anomalies. Nigeria belongs to all and Niger Delta is not just a cash cow, but a region inhabited by humans, who consider themselves an integral part of this entity called Nigeria.
“Going forward, we demand equity and respect for our people and our leaders. We condemn attempts to undermine our safety and demand a well-structured and even use of the over N20 billion private support that has come in to support the fight to stamp out Coronavirus, even as we condemn the smuggling into the country of Chinese medical team. Our lives should matter over political ties,” he stated.
The group said the COVID-19 pandemic is a lesson to Federal Government to invest and resuscitate the nation’s comatose health sector.
He stated: “It is in this regard that we are raising the alarm over an obvious neglect of the states by the national committee on this pandemic under the chairmanship of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha.
“As concerned citizens, we back that call for support to all to help states address the obvious gaps in their zones and save the NCDC the stress of slow response to distress calls and improve access to the afflicted.
“In the same vein, we condemn the obvious preferential treatment observed in the disbursement of relief to the poor as a cushion, for the pains of the lockdown to Coronavirus,” the group declared.