COVID-19: Matagu Foundation urges measures to check inflation in food, medical items
The Matagu Foundation, an anti corruption advocacy group has raised the alarm over sharp increases in the prices of food items in the country and called on federal and state governments to adopt measures to protect the citizens.
Chief Ekene Enefe, founder of the group told journalaists in Awka on Monday that the real suffering of the masses could come largely from hungry rather than the Corona Virus epidemic.
Enefe said this was the time to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) should wade in and check the alarming rise in the prices of food and medical supplies.
He feared that the ‘stay at home’ order would cripple productivity such that agricultural produce would no longer be available thus creating shortage in supply and roof top inflation.
The foundation called on federal and state governments to immediately deploy the funds contributed by individual and cooperate bodies towards ensuring long time supply of food and making them available to Nigerians.
He called for a social security programme that could put money in the pocket of Nigerians to enable sustain themselves during the period
“It is so unfortunate that people now pay more for essential things like food and medicine even when they are not earning any income as a result of the shutdown.
“The federal and state governments must intervene now to protect our people, in the past there used to be marketing board that control prices, now we have the FCCPC), what are they doing to protect Nigerians, let them come in and control the situation.
“With people staying inside their houses, there will be food scarcity that those that have money may not see items to buy, so what are the various level of governments doing to guarantee food supply .
“Farmers should be given protection kits and encouraged to produce food, National Orientation Agency staff should be equipped for rural mass mobilisation, to prevent people from dying from hunger instead of Corona Virus.
“Matagu foundation wishes to thanked individual and organisations that have contribute to the corona virus war, we are now asking that the contributions should not be stored somewhere but deployed immediately to keep people alive while we wait for the scourge to be over,” he said.
The Matagu Foundation boss expressed regrets that Nigeria was now reacting to the situation when it had the opportunity to protect itself from outbreak of the disease by stopping migration with affected countries at the early stage.
Enefe said the non availability of test kits at the grassroots was making Corona Virus look like an ailment for the elites fearing that more people may been affected but not recognised because the facilities to check them were lacking.
“I am afraid, more people in the middle and lower classes may be victims but we won’t no that now until they get tested, it is our prayer that we don’t start seeing death at that level, so they should make the kits available for all,”Enefe added.