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West Africa

COVID-19: Group condemns ploy to sack women, employees

A not-for-profit Group, Rights-holders of Ngwo community, Enugu state under the aegis of The Voice Nigeria project implemented by Mothers And Marginalised Advocacy Centre (MAMA Centre) has decried ploy to massively sack, extort women to ease COVID-19 impact in the country.

The Group said, there is an ongoing secretive moves by some businesses to massively downsize among the workforce and extort from mostly women of their employment benefits in the guise of measures to ease financial impacts of COVID-19 in businesses.

Making this known to journalists the Rights-holder leader and Champion, Ngwo Community, Mrs. Grace Oriaku said the nationwide lockdown, has affected women including the Rights-holders.

She said women have been marginalised in all spheres of the economy, including various inequalities that featured in under-paid or poorly paid employment rewards and other benefits.

She said according to a World Bank Report. “rights-holders constitute the vulnerable and socio-economic deprived group whose families live below poverty line, estimated at $1.90 per person per day in 2019.

“We observed so far that the lockdown directive by respective governments as enforced at all levels which was not accompanied by adequate and appropriate palliative measures.

It said, “This has to a large extent amplified socio-economic and financial burdens on the women population in all spheres especially the female headed households, which are already rendered incapacitated to provide for themselves and their dependant families.

“This is in addition to the continued physical and emotional abuses that women including the rights-holders endure in their various homes and communities.”

The Rights-holders is worried that instead of guaranteeing adequate support to the women, emerging reports are fingering some corporate entities in unsympathetic plans and shameless threats to extort from the worst-hit group.

While the Group commend the recent effort by the National Assembly to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and citizens through a legislative framework titled, “Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020” initiated by the House of Representatives.

However, the Rights-holders said they are surprised at such surreptitious decision of some corporate entities to deliberately frustrate and feed fat on their personnel, especially the women, stressing that this is despite the proactive provisions itemised in the Bill in favour of corporate entities.

The Group states that, “We are also not unaware of various palliative measures the Central Bank of Nigeria has opened to business for accessibility as part of the efforts to alleviate the financial consequences of COVID-19 pandemic, it is hopeful that duly registered businesses facing financial downturn would sincerely leverage such support, where necessary and avert throwing their female personnel into needless financial tension and anxiety.

We therefore, call on President Muhammadu Buhari to rapidly assent into the “Emergency Economic Stimulus Bill, 2020”, while it is transmitted to the Presidency by the National Assembly, to provide appropriate legislation and blue print to economic revival during and after the pandemic.”

The Group also called for the adoption and full implementation of Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act across states to adequately sanction degrading and ill-treatment that women may be undergoing as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

They demanded prompt and appropriate relief intervention by the government to the women and other vulnerable groups at all levels to alleviate the ongoing dreaded impacts of the lockdown on them and their families.

The Group called on corporate businesses to in spirit of patriotism shun action or decision that would be analogous to exacerbating unemployment rate and resultant socio-economic consequences in the country.

We further encourage the media, civil society groups, labour unions and all well-meaning Nigerians to discourage deliberate and dubious moves by corporate entities to feed fat of the vulnerable groups, and heighten the nation’s socio-economic crises


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