The Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), in its report on a national survey carried out to access the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a household, has called on the government to incorporate accountability and transparency principles into the national emergency response framework.
In its report presented to the media, titled ‘Rapid Gender Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on Households in Nigeria’, the survey carried out on 10 sample states including Lagos, FCT, Kano, Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, Borno, Kwara, Ogun, and Kaduna was necessitated by the negative impacts of the pandemic on the society. The Action Aid and UK-AID supported the report launch.
Founding Director, WARDC, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said the Rapid Gender Analysis, (RGA) provides information about the different needs, capacities, and coping strategies of women, men, boys, and girls in a crisis situation like COVID-19. It highlights the gendered impacts of the COVID-19 crisis for effective planning and implementation of national emergency response.
According to the survey’s report, three-quarters (75.8 per cent) of the respondents across all selected states did not receive any support from the government during the crisis, as opposed to claims that the majority of Nigerians were reached under the palliative programme.
Similarly, none of the respondents from Akwa-Ibom and Enugu received cash as a form of support from the government. Also, only an insignificant proportion of respondents from Lagos (2.4 per cent), Ogun (3.9 per cent), and Borno (2.6 per cent) received facemasks and sanitizers as token palliatives.
The report suggests that accountability principles did not provide a guiding framework in the management of palliatives during the lockdown, as it requires openness and transparency in information sharing and distribution of resources as enunciated by the World Health Organisation.
“The Nigerian experience clearly negates those principles due to the secrecy that shrouded information and sharing of palliatives. It also revealed that the handling of COVID-19 donations by the Federal Government and different states has not been transparent.
It read: “Women are often more dependent on basic services; healthcare, education, water, and sanitation, because of their domestic roles. Hence, corruption in such basic services can have disproportionate and negative consequences for women and girls.”
The report also revealed that only 63.6 per cent of the households across the selected states were headed by men; with the majority of respondents also living below the poverty line. As part of policy recommendation, the report urged the government to urgently incorporate accountability and transparency principles into the National Emergency Response Framework.
It, therefore, seeks inclusion of the media and civil society actors in the various COVID-19 task forces across the board to strengthen transparency.