A professor of Psychology at the University of Lagos, Oni Fagbohungbe, has called on the Nigerian Government to change its approach in containing the spread of Coronavirus in the country, stressing that there was likely to be a breakdown of law and order if hunger persists in the land.
Fagbohungbe was reacting to government’s palliative measures, which has been largely characterised by corruption and inefficiencies just as the lockdown continues across the country.
Speaking in an interview with SaharaReporters on Thursday, the psychologist said the “Nigerian mentality” in the distribution of foods should be jettisoned.
He said, “There will be a fear of breakdown of law and order. When you have a goal and the realisation towards that goal is blocked, what happens is that you would become frustrated and the frustration manifests into aggression.
“The aggression can be self-directed, if it is self-directed, you find people talking about suicide but in most cases it is usually socially-directed, you direct it against the society that you perceive is depriving you of your needs.
“So, there is likely to a breakdown of law and order, people will not obey it (lockdown) because what will make them survive is not available.
“The Nigerian mentality is a situation whereby you find officials filling their homes with what the government has provided, then after Coronavirus is no more, their wives become sellers of the food. In any situation policy and programme, most people think of what they will gain from the situation.
“How can you say you want to distribute food to those who are hungry and then you go to an open field or a school, it would be disrupted. Federal and state governments, as well as individuals are releasing foods but does it reach the people?”
Fagbohungbe cited the case of other countries where food distribution was done efficiently, urging the government to emulate those societies.
On what government should do next, he said, “People must be given reassurance and it must be in practical terms.
“Get the addresses of people and ask them to stay in their homes, you know the LGA and street, have a time table and tell them you’ll be coming. If those who are in another street see that you are close to their street, they will stay at home because they know you are practicalising what you have organised.
“If not, hunger would push people out. That is why you have people say that there is another virus that is more devastating than Coronavirus and that is hunger virus. It’s a physiological need and our survival is tied around it.”