Richard Ginika Izuora
The United Nations (UN) has attributed the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 as the main cause of the recent #EndSARS protests and other social unrest witnessed in Nigeria as well as social unrest in other parts of the world.
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, stated this when she addressed the media in Abuja, on Monday.
Mohammed had on Monday met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Thereafter, she joined Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to inaugurate the UN Plus Offer; a programme aimed at supporting Nigeria’s Economic Sustainability Plan over the next two years.
The UN official commended the Buhari administration over the way and manner it handled the protests occasioned by the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. While reacting to a question on UN response to #ENDSARS protests in Nigeria, the deputy secretary-general said; “I have to say that there are a lot of protests around this world that has been exacerbated by COVID; because, COVID has left people out of work, left people hopeless because of the socio-economic impact.
“And in many of those protests; we have not seen governments turn around in response as quickly as this government did
“So, the UN response to this is that, we must make sure that what happened in these protests is that We are able to address those issues, those gaps and begin the reform; in fact, I will say the transformations that are needed to address many of these outstanding issues. For that we need an engaged youths, we need to engage government.
“I think what has been put in place are those building blocs…The support of the UN has been asked, to make sure that those convenience can happen.
“…We can build back trust and have confidence-building measures in order to get to where we need to; where the social contract between government and the people is firm and trustworthy; and is working for the benefits of the Nigerian people.’’
Mohammed reiterated the commitment of the UN to offer more support to Nigeria; as well as other developing countries so as to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. She stated that this has become necessary to enable such countries get back on track after the emergence of the pandemic.
On her visit to Nigeria, she said: “It is a solidarity visit. First to the government and the people that we have to serve and accompany on various missions whether they are development, humanitarian, or political in the various offices that the UN has.
“It is also one of solidarity to UN Staff around the world that have remained on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is of course an unprecedented health crisis. But unfortunately, the side effects of some of the issues we had to do to suppress the transmission of COVID had to do with the socio-economic impact.
“So many, if not all developing countries are dealing with the socio-economic impacts of this virus.’’