COVID-19: DSM calls on Oyetola-led Osun State Government to go beyond half measures
We call on Osun State government to provide adequate safety and sanitary kits and facilities for the citizens
The government should be ready to make provision for basic needs like foodstuffs, energy/fuel, water supply and cash transfer, in view of the lockdown
We call for provision of at least N100, 000 special allowance, life insurance and safety kits for health workers in the frontline
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Osun State Chapter hereby calls on the Gboyega Oyetola-led Osun State government to go beyond its piece-meal measures on the issue of Coronavirus pandemic in the state and pointedly address challenges concerning the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic. According to latest report, the state now has two confirmed cases of the dreaded disease. Also, nationally, the cases are climbing up to a hundred. As unfortunate as this development is, the response of the Osun State government has been more of grandstanding and half-measures than actual attempt at addressing the challenges posed by the disease. The government has been acting in an uncoordinated manner, but refused to address the basic issues being faced by the working and poor people of the state.
While the state government has announced a lockdown of the state by Tuesday, 31st March, 2020, the government has refused to address the question of how people will survive in the period of the lockdown, beyond asking people to stock up essential items. What about those who live by daily earnings? What about the poor families, who are finding it difficult to survive even before the lockdown? What about workers in the small scale enterprises whose jobs and incomes are affected? In fact, there is little information about the cases, especially the second case, in order to do proper contact tracing. Furthermore, the same government that was quick to close down schools, offices, markets and, entrances to the states, has not found it necessary to provide even the basic sanitary and safety kits like nose masks, hand gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. for the citizens. The prices of these kits have skyrocketed in the last few weeks. But the same government that is busy making noise in the media did not see the need to make these kits available to households.
This attitude of the Oyetola government is not new or strange. The state of the public health sector prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus is nothing to write home about, in spite of the propaganda of the government about a so-called turn around. There is acute shortage of health personnel in most of the state health institutions with the state boosting of less than 200 doctors and less than 1000 of other health workers in the employ of the state government. The state hospitals are in terrible conditions in terms of facilities. Therefore, the grandstanding by Oyetola government on coronavirus is not strange or new.
The government talks about people washing their hands, but it is a fact that majority of the citizens labour so hard to provide their own water supply as the public water supply system is practically unavailable. In fact, if there is a lockdown, a significant percentage of the population will have serious challenge getting water supply, as many families in major towns including Osogbo, have to travel round town to get water.
But the government must be compelled to go beyond the grandstanding and really address the issues concerning the curtailment of the Coronavirus in the state, especially concerning survival in the period of the lockdown.
The DSM therefore demands the following:
1. The government must provide full and adequate information to the public on the confirmed cases.
2. The state government must provide all basic sanitary and safety kits including nose masks, hand gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. Also, the government must make provision for water supply for communities, in the case of lockdown.
3. The government must begin the process of providing basic needs including foodstuffs, water supply, energy/fuel and cash transfer to communities and households who will be affected by the lockdown.
4. Provision of testing facilities and isolation centres in all local governments in the states.
5. There must be adequate provisions for health workers working to curtail the disease. We call for the provision of at least N100, 000 special allowance, life insurance and necessary safety gear for health workers on the frontline.
6. We call for the commitment of the government to save jobs and ensure full payment of salaries and pensions to workers and retirees in the state.
7. The government must publicly declare all donations to the state to curtail the COVID-19. We call for the formation of a democratic committee comprising representatives of labour movement and communities to monitor and manage all donations.
8. The Oyetola government must make commitment to commit adequate resources to revamp the health institutions in the state, and provision of adequate water supply across the state.
9. We call for community control and monitoring of materials and donations.
10. We call on labour movement in the state to take up these demands frontally and champion their actualization.