Time are changing rapidly these days, and so must be our approach to things. The Humanitarian Ministry or committee, got my nod when they said their focus was on the poorest of the poor. Indeed, it was a good strategy to reach the poorest people in the country.
These people have been said to live in the innermost part of the country, and truly they are usually unreachable to the media, electricity, and good water. That explains why using bank accounts to get what government wanted to give them may seem an impossible task.
However, the time is changing, and so, the approach and targets should be different.
There is the need to expand the definition of the poorest of the poor.
Taking a deeper look at it, one will realize that there are two groups of the poorest. The ones that live in the village,who are the poorest among their neighbors because they do not have access to farmland or housing.
The second group of the poorest are those that live in cities or semi-urban areas. These people are the poorest among the poor in the cities because they don’t have access to housing, they live on what they could get on daily basis. They may sometimes have bank accounts with their life savings, which may be about N10, 000 or less.
You may think that is money, but in the real sense of it, it is nothing because they use it to pay their daily or monthly rent, which the poorest in the village does not have to worry about. More so, having N10,000 (Ten thousand naira) or less in the city is worse than having N1000 (One thousand naira) in the village.
Also, with the lockdown extending more than two weeks since it started, the savings of the poorest in the city would have become zero, but N1000, of the poorest in the village may still remain intact.
Which among the two groups is at risk of COVID-19 infection?
One important advantage of the poorest in the poor in the village over those of those in the cities is that Corona Viruses may not get to them. In fact, village is the most secured places during this time. Especially with the lock-down, nobody will visit the village, so they have nothing to worry about.
However, this is not so with the poorest in the cities. They must go out for them to eat. Hence, they are pressured to have contacts with people. They are, thus, more at risk of the virus.
The worst thing about the poorest in the cities is that if they do not eat, they results in crimes. The poorest in the village may not do this. They will still get some foods to eat from neighbors or farms around them.
What ought to be done!
At this time, if there are people to concentrate attention on now, it is the poorest in the cities. The poorest in the village are secured and have been attended to in the past. Given the ongoing lock-down, the poorest in the cities should take the priority.
These people need to be located, and catered for. They include the ‘agbero’ on the street, the sex workers, people living in the slum, etc.
I am just thinking.