Nigeria: CACOL cautions against arbitrary and wanton extension of COVID-19 lockdown

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has sent warning to both federal and states’ governments over probabilities of incessant and arbitrary extension of lockdown in some states and the entire federation.

In a release issued by CACOL on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he stated, “Though it is too early to calculate and conclude (worldwide and domestically) on both mortality and economic losses of the global scourge of COVID-19 that first had its casualty in a Chinese city called WUHAN and recorded its index case in Nigeria on 27th March, 2020 through an Italian businessman resident here, the social and survival implications are already too weighty and taking their toll on ordinary Nigerians across ethnic, religious and social spectra that it has become imperative that CACOL as a coalition of over 100 varied groups and organizations need to caution on some observed approaches and policies of both federal and certain states’ governments, especially since the first announcement of lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and FCT, Abuja was declared by the Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari about one month ago.

“We would recollect that certain conditions that border on the overall health premium of majority Nigerians necessitated the lockdown in those places as the coronavirus pandemic not only had their index cases recorded in those places, but the rate kept on rising with residents noticeably going about their businesses and preoccupations as if things were just normal and tolerable. Sadly, the figure of the afflicted and deaths recorded was on the upward mobility as well. This made all stakeholders, including medical experts and the World Health Organization (WHO) to issue serious warning about a looming catastrophe on the horizon in Nigeria and other global theatres of human existence. It was therefore in response to all these warning signs that the state and federal governments independently declared initial one week and two weeks lockdown. Ironically, the unfortunate trajectory of afflicted and dead has continued to be on the rise with what was initially less than 50 afflicted now rising to an almost 900 (Nine Hundred) afflicted and over One Hundred deaths recorded, though with an almost Three Hundred survivals of the virus.

“However, the crux of the matter is that from the statistics and on-the-spot reports available, while all efforts and attention were focussed on Lagos, Ogun states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the rest of the nation largely responded with indifference and untoward superstition as far as warning over COVID-19 was concerned with primary measures like: washing of hands, wearing of face-masks, social distancing, etc., mostly observed in the breach. The resultant effect is that today, the hen seems to be home for roosting with many states recording high velocity of both mortal and medical casualties as being seen in Kano, Bauchi, Oyo, Edo and other states. As at today, about 24 (Twenty-Four) states have official confirmation of the pandemic with some states like Kogi being as comical as refusing to take samples of body fluids of its residents nor devise means of ascertaining the true state of things but prefer to boast of being free from any infections. Even states like Lagos that has since embarked on its laudable, House to House search of COVID-19 symptoms and examination of its people was shocked with volume of probable infections! As laudable as all these steps are, the caveat is that, whereas, other states of the federation, especially in the northern part, received significant financial assistance and feeding materials like rice, beans, flour, money, etc., people in Lagos and many other states of the federation in the south remarkably, were left in the lurch by governments in most instance. This is clearly against any logic as in the first instance, other nations where coronavirus first bared its sting like China, Italy, USA, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, etc., had their countries locked down and only gave reprieve of liberty to component or congruent states to review and examine lockdown independently after. It was such that CITIZENS in some states in the United States of America (USA) are already clamouring for an end to their COVID-19 lockdown due to the social and economic discomfiture being experienced with their President Donald Trump, giving his consent to such clamour. This is because, though the COVID-19 situation could be likened to a war situation to humans, it is ridiculously jejune and dubious to give it a metaphor of death sentence by insisting that those who request for a minimum means of survival to defy the ‘Hunger virus/pang’ are inconsiderate or insensitive. This is because, many have devised effective herbal mode of deflecting contracting the virus while a lot others would even prefer confronting the scourge rather than being reduced to sub-humans who must die through starvation that seems to be the only available option being peddled.”

The CACOL tsar, added, “Since some of the index states are already contemplating compulsory wearing of face masks, etc., once the last two weeks imposed expire anytime next week, and considering the economic losses these strategic states have recorded and still recording, we caution against any blanket extension without practical and verifiable provisions of foods and other survival modes. We also call for strategic and holistic appraisal of where we are, economically and for the Nigerian state to revert and liaise with other nations in our shoes for us to be able to devise means of managing and overcoming this impasse in a way that minimizes and preserves our survival and overall wellbeing as a nation.”

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