Defense and Security

COVID-19: Include House Rent In Stimulus Package, NGO Tells Government

 A non governmental organisation, International Center for Human Rights Non Violence and Safety Awareness is calling on the government to extend palliatives beyond provision of food stuffs.

The NGO stated this in a press release signed by the Chief Executive Officer Barr. Ene Unobe.

It read “Government’s restriction of movement order which includes the directive for citizens to stay at home in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 is in good faith. This lockdown, no doubt, is taking its toll on individuals’ and families’ efforts to meet basic obligations. As a human right NGO, we have been inundated with communications by distressed Nigerians who have started falling victim of assorted economic problems associated with this unforeseen shutdown.” 

“Without delving into the adequacy (or lack of it) of the promised incentives, it is our submission that food supply cannot satisfy the direct and indirect losses of this category of Nigerians. Good as this basic necessity is, other disruptions occasioned by this sudden clampdown have to be looked into by government in order to properly manage the lockdown order and the post-COVID 19 socio-economic upheavals that will erupt such as: unpaid rents, accumulating bank charges, bank loans, loss of jobs, school fees and other forms of indebtedness or financial obligations.”

The NGO stated that to tackle these problems, there is need for government “to give directives that landlords should observe moratorium on payment of rents for at least three months starting from April 2020. As a consequence, law suits by landlords on recovery of premises at this time should be discouraged for the same period of time. Contractual obligations to banks and other financial institution on loans should be relaxed. Government’s rates and taxes that directly impact on the poor and private sector should be suspended or reduced to the barest minimal for the time being. Massive financial support for the organized private sector to enable them pay salaries of their staff and other operational cost.”

The NGO also added that government should protect workers in the private sector from employers who may take undue advantage of the pandemic and lockdown order to sack workers without compensation and should give directive to security agents to protect the human rights of every citizen and punish officers who have gone beyond their brief.

It urges citizens  to avoid any form of domestic and sexual violence especially during this lockdown period.

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