By Justina Auta
Abuja – The United Nations on Wednesday donated N38.4 million for procurement of palliatives targeted at the vulnerable and indigent women across 14 states to cushion the hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, made this known while presenting a cheque for procurement of the palliatives to the women through the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in .
Lamptey said the support was to reaffirm the UN’s support to Nigeria Government’s response to women and girls, who were mostly affected by the pandemic due to their responsibilities of caring and providing for households, including sick relatives.
“UN Women will be supporting, as part of its humanitarian response in providing palliatives to the targeted groups of vulnerable and indigent women who are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 14 states across the six geo-political zones.
“This support will meet the immediate needs of 12, 600 vulnerable women and girls by increasing food security and access to hygiene, both of which will reduce their exposure to the virus and support their survival amidst the lockdown directives,” she said.
On Gender Based Violence (GBV), the UN women representative, decried the increasing cases recorded during the lockdown, calling on all stakeholders to bring an end to it.
“In Nigeria, we have witnessed a sharp increase in the reported cases of gender based violence.
“Frontline services in Lagos State reported a 300 per cent increase in GBV cases from March to April and in the FCT, there has been a reported 520 per cent increase amid lockdown and other social measures put in place,” she further said.
On her part, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, stressed the need for stakeholders to ensure safety of women and girls, as well as report incidences of violence to the appropriate authorities.
Tallen reiterated the commitment of the government in prioritising the welfare of women and children, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world.
She expressed appreciation to the UN Women for their supports, adding that more states, apart from the 14, selected in the the exercise would also benefit from other palliative supports.
The minister, while appealing to well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to continue to support the government’s efforts toward curtailing the spread of the pandemic, urged them to provide palliatives to needy in the society.
She also encouraged the public to ensure they adhered strictly to the preventive measures such as social distancing, proper hygiene and other recommendations by the government to curtail the spread of the virus.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reports on COVID-19 as at May 5, showed 2,950 confirmed cases, 481 discharged cases and 98 deaths.