The founder of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye, has called on the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to as a matter of urgency address the issue of hunger, which he calls a far deadlier virus than the COVID 19.
This, he said, can be made possible through the establishment of food kitchens to proactively address the risk of a hungry population.
In a letter addressed to the governor, Akinboboye said this has become very imperative since the majority of the over 20 million citizens in Lagos live from hand to mouth and are often paid daily and only if they work.
“I am constrained to bring to your attention an equally significant risk that arises from the lockdown that we all agree is in the best solution for containing this awful virus. The state government must address the risk from a hungry population proactively. If you go to them first, you will be able to manage their demands. If they come to you first, you will be unable to manage their needs. I would, therefore, propose for your consideration that, as soon as possible, the government should establish food kitchens that will provide 1 meal per day to all needed persons.
“As you are aware, the majority of the over 20 million citizens in our megacity live from hand to mouth and are often (if at all) paid daily and only if they can work. The lockdown period, therefore, has a significant impact on their ability to generate income and feed themselves.
“They do not have the luxury of stockpiling food as perhaps a mere 1-2% of the state population that has sufficient income to do so.
As each day passes and hunger sets in they will become hungrier and hungrier and they will become angry and one can only imagine the issues on which they will focus.
Social media is awash with clips that show the bitterness of the governed for those that govern us and their perception that the elite has allowed health services to collapse safely in the knowledge that they can get on a plane and obtain medical services abroad” he said.
Speaking further, Akinboboye said careful planning needs to go into the project while acknowledging the logistical challenge that will go into the execution of the project.
“Obviously, the logistics for this venture will be challenging. However, it should, with careful planning, and the collective minds of the best brains in Lagos, be achievable.
I am aware that feeding Lagosians will attract a huge cost. I, therefore, believe now is the time to call on the more privileged individuals in Lagos to partner with the government in this effort. If one million Lagosians contribute N1000 a week, N1bn would be raised per week to feed our fellow citizens who would otherwise be unable to feed themselves. The initiative could be sold to these ‘elite’ on the basis that they are effectively catering for their own security. However for such initiative to succeed it has to be private sector-led and managed given the innate distrust of our citizens on how government expends. There will also be a need for weekly accountability so donations will continue” he added.
Concluding, Akinboboye commended the state government for the manner in which the pandemic is being addressed.
“Your Excellency, I believe you will understand that this letter is being sent with the best intentions to address a foreseeable risk. As a person born in Lagos, who has lived for many years with major business interests in Lagos, I want to ensure that at the end of this pandemic, our state and country flourish. I have nothing but extreme admiration for how the Lagos State Government under your able leadership is addressing the containment of the risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to our beloved state and indeed Nigeria as a whole” he concluded.