Lockdown, Nigeria and VoT/returnees: news from our researcher Femi

The geometric increase in the rise of the coronavirus contact cases in Nigeria has created a lot of panic among Nigerians. It would be recalled that twice the government had extended the 14 days lockdown with failed promises to efficiently and effectively cushion and create palliatives for the populace.
By 27th of April, many were glued to their television and radio to listen to the presidential broadcast on coronavirus.

In spite of the rise in contact cases, the government diplomatically extended the lockdown by a week for work to resume partially on the 4th of May, 2020.

Two groups of people emerged just after the broadcast, those who needed the freedom at all cost and those who became scared of the uncontrollable spread the resumption would have owing to the rise in contact cases and available data. For record sake, as at 11.45pm of 4th of May, 2020 there were 245 new cases, total confirmed 2802, discharged 417 and 93 deaths.

However, most people have complained of a double tragedy in this season of lockdown. Many have lamented on the rise of hunger while others are afraid of the crime rate in the country. In actual fact, some have termed the year 2020 a year of survival and not a year to consider prosperity.
Survivors and returnees belongs to either group mentioned above.

Stakeholders have suspended most projects that concerns returnees because of the lockdown and challenges that comes with the restrictions. Many are left helpless while some get support from some NGOs depending on the location and logistics.

Lockdown, Nigeria and VoT/returnees: news from our researcher Femi

The Executive Director of Pathfinder Justice Initiatives, Ms. Evon Idahosa, lamented that most of Pathfinder’s survivors who were just emerging from sexual slavery and looking forward to starting their lives, are suffering with financial, physical and emotional hardships through this mandatory lockdown.

Some are now homeless, others have had to close the small businesses PJI helped them build, many (along with their children) are facing hunger. Some are sick.⁣

The most obvious temptation is for them to return to prostitution- something we want to avoid at all costs. ⁣

As a call to duty and avoid retrafficking on 28th of April, 2020. Pathfinder distributed the emergency care packages, which included food and hygiene supplies (Garri, rice, tin tomatoes, vegetable oil, indomie, beans, etc.) to support them through this trying time and to fill in some of the government gaps.

We are in the know that some other stakeholders are doing something small.

The big question of how long the supply of these palliatives will last and the impact of the continuous lockdown on returnees and survivors is yet unknown.

Oluwafemi, Abe