Editor’s note: As the economy enters a recession, families feel the squeeze as prices of goods soar and income shrinks. For the first time in several years, Nigerians groan as the misery of
the recession becomes depressive.
The Nigerians most hit by this harsh reality are the poor and vulnerable families. Naij.com’s Austin Oyibode looks at the current economic situation and its
effects on Nigerian families.
The harsh economic reality is forcing Nigerians to survive by all means necessary and through begging It was in one of the busy streets in Asaba, the Delta State capital, when a middle-aged man walked briskly to another standing on the walkway
waiting to flag down a tricycle.
It is common in Asaba as it is in other cities for people to stand along the road to wait for intra-city buses or tricycles.
The middle-aged man walked to the other man and politely told him “my wife has just delivered and I don’t have anything at home for her to survive”.
This he said with a mournful look on his face, a facial appearance that depicted hunger and could melt the hardest of men on earth.
He told him that his wife delivered the previous day but he had no food to sustain the wife and the new born.
Hungry and beggarly families
He pleaded for only five hundred naira for the momentary upkeep of the family. Our NAIJ.com’s reporter stood eavesdropping but fortunately for him, the man had the heart of gold.
Rather than give him five hundred naira as he demanded, he offered him one thousand five hundred naira and the poor man thanked him and left.
Although there are evidences that some of these persons may not actually be truthful in their confessions, it tells of the
unavailability of food and the rate of poverty in Nigeria.
Similarly, Angelina Okonkwo is a
Christian with one of the Pentecostal churches, also in Asaba. She lives with her husband with three children in a one room apartment.
But somehow, Mrs. Okonkwo is reported to be surviving on
borrowing from church members.
Reports indicate that the Okonkwos left their former church for a new one due to borrowing from the church members.
It was learnt that as the borrowing had gone beyond measures, the Okonkwos moved to another church and the trend
continued. But as the borrowing in the other church also got to an alarming rate, she moved over to her former church, yes, all in a bid to survive due to lack of food in
the home and the need to carry on with the survival instinct.
Also, there have been reports of people stealing foods from kitchen and making away with pots of soup from homes at least to keep soul and body together. A
report that recently went viral revealed that a woman went to a rice shop and abandoned her child in preference for a bag of rice in the market.
Many reports are emanating from
various parts of the country that are heart rending, all pointing to the fact that there is serious food shortage in the country.
Many had attempted suicide, some snatching food from school children while others are living beggarly lives on daily basis. The number of beggars is growing while some had attempted leaving the country until the country returns to a better state.
The foregoing are indications of acute food shortage in Nigeria. Many cases of such are in different parts of the country where families groan and children are
abandoned as a result of food shortage in the family.
The challenges these families face could be said to mean their inability to access food for their consumption and meet other needs of the family.
The resultant effect is the challenge staring the families in the face. And for the fact that
the families must survive, they resort to whatever means to pacify the survival instinct.
Introduction of failed agricultural
programmes The Nigerian government has had several programmes aimed at making
food available for Nigerians but they have all failed and sadly, abandoned.
Also, almost all state governments have introduced programmes to produce food and make it available to their people but they have also ended in the paper work and on several occasions
they are left to die after media publicity with the aim of deceiving the people in their respective domains.