Nigeria, Poverty and Politics of Protests for Palliatives

Bala Ibrahim, Nigeria, Poverty, Politics of Protests, Palliatives
This warehouse, alleged to contain COVID-19 palliative materials, was raided on Saturday by citizens in Jos, Plateau State

Nigeria, Poverty and Politics of Protests for Palliatives

Two things prompted this write up. The first came from a colleague, who sent an sms, thus, “I’m bothered about these palliative looting incidents in some states. There is the question of what the palliative materials were doing in those warehouses. Were those state governments deliberately sabotaging the fed govt’s effort to alleviate the sufferings of the citizens? Someone in govt needs to speak on this”.


While the first was a wakeup call on the need to look at the likelihood of an undertone that may be lying beneath the surface of the utterances or actions of the youth, which falls in line with many postulations, including that of the President, that the protests were hijacked by some people with a hidden agenda, the humour in the second says something about the limit of nonsense. Yes, if you feel strong enough to stage such balderdash in order to test your stupidity, please test the bunkum in the barracks.

No matter your level of insanity, you just cannot do that, because it would amount to testing the depth of the water with both feet. And only a fool would do that. Much as the protesting youths want to make name on their own, or by the prompting of some peeved politicians, I doubt if any of them would be willing to be a dead hero. So entering the barrack to steal, cannot be a good agenda for contention.

Despite the Presidential broadcast, in which PMB appealed to the youths to embrace peace and wait to see what the government would do on their well heard demands, widespread looting has continued to be the trend. In many parts of the country, the protesters are targeting to steal or destroy places like government warehouses that are stocked with food, shopping malls, media houses, and banks.

IGP Adamu Mohammed was compelled to warn thus: “Enough is enough to all acts of lawlessness, disruption of public peace and order and wanton violence which have resulted in indiscriminate looting of shops, malls and warehouses, damage to property and loss of lives in some parts of the country,”

With what is going on, particularly the volume of food items that are being discovered in warehouses in many states, almost all of them carrying the tag of palliatives for the COVID-19, one can clearly see the hands of Judas everywhere. Also, with all the efforts put in place by the President to fight poverty, through all manner of projects and programmes, including bailouts, it is beginning to be evident that some forces are bent on putting spanner in the works of the President.

Someone wrote and I quote, “President Muhammadu Buhari gave them bailout to pay salaries, the governors looted it. He gave MDAs and Non-MDAs bailouts to pay liabilities, but the Public Servants in connivance within themselves and collaboration with the Governors looted it. He refunded Paris club debt to enable infrastructural development, they still ended up looting it. He ordered local government autonomy to bring governance to the grassroots, the governors resisted it. He granted judiciary and legislature autonomy to enable accountability and transparency in the state, these same governors thrashed it. Finally he supplied massive palliatives to cushion the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, your governors stocked them in warehouses. Yet this man is your problem”.

While I sympathize with the President over the endless sabotage visited on him and his administration, I also blame the President for refusing to see the protests from the perspectives of subversive politics. There is no doubt about the plans of some politicians, amongst whom are the governors, taking advantage of the plight of the poor, and the modesty of the President, to commence the tussle for power, long before 2023.

Otherwise why should some people hide away food items in warehouses, when they are supposed to be distributed to the less privileged as palliatives, in a country that is battling with poverty? I don’t understand why the President is not seeing the sabotage.

The social media is literally awash with the comments of Nigerians, who are quick to blast the state governments, for hiding these items at a time like now, where hunger is hanging on every neck.

It may please the President to know of a Japanese proverb that says, Happiness rarely keeps company with an empty stomach. If he does, he may see the need to do something quick, on the politics behind the protests for these palliatives.


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