HealthPolitics

Lockdown: Uncertainty over lockdown as Nigerians await decision

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President Muhammadu Buhari on April 13 renewed the two-week stay-at-home lockdown order on Lagos and Ogun states in addition to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), pronouncing the extension turned into the right thing to do to comprise the pandemic.

As at the time the President imposed the first lockdown on March 30, there had been 131 instances inside the usa which moved to 343 on April thirteen. As at Saturday night time, there were 1,182 instances, 925 of which had been energetic with 35 deaths recorded.

Kano nation which had no case as at March 30 and April thirteen is fast turning into the epicentre of the virus spread with seventy seven cases as at Saturday. It was going for walks speedy in the back of Lagos kingdom and the FCT in tremendous cases. Except, there have been many inexplicable deaths in the state which some human beings trust might not be unconnected with the virus.

President Buhari is anticipated to address the country these days on the way ahead inside the warfare towards the virus.
The knotty trouble before the Federal authorities is the impact of the lockdown at the FCT, Lagos, Ogun, already on one month lockdown, and Kano country, that is speedy turning into the foremost difficulty.It become learnt that there may be strain on the Federal authorities to relax the lockdown to store the economic system. final night, the chances had been in favour of partial restrict.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum(NGF) is in the vanguard of the demand for partial restriction particularly the healing of inner motion in the states. Governors have already pledged to close their borders to inter-country movement for 2 weeks. beaten through agitations for the partial lifting of the lockdown, the Presidential undertaking pressure (PTF), the main advisory body at the pandemic fight, become weighing the alternatives ultimate night time. Its scheduled assembly to take a selection failed to keep. The meeting, it turned into learnt, will now preserve nowadays in advance of the President’s expected broadcast. “The PTF evaluate session fixed for Sunday (the previous day) changed into cancelled to get more input from stakeholders,” a source instructed The nation on Sunday night time.

He said thus:

“There is pressure on the government to review the lockdown and put in place partial restrictions nationwide.

“Those demanding restrictions are claiming that prolonged lockdown will hurt the nation’s economy and set the masses against the government.

Already, some governors have begun playing politics with COVID-19 by not waiting for the response of the Federal Government to the input of the NGF. These governors have opted to end the total lockdown in their states.

“Our major fears are possible abuse of the partial restrictions and the likely spread of Coronavirus since we are at the level of community spread in all the states.

“We also do not want to run a government which will bring more pains to Nigerians.

“Whatever is our decision will be guided by the need to save the lives of Nigerians. We will look at all indices and what is applicable in other climes.”

The governors’ position made available in a statement after their teleconference meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on April 22 is as follows:

Inter-state lockdown, excluding movement of essential supplies such as foods, beverages, medical and pharmaceuticals, petroleum supplies and agricultural products;
Internal free movement but with restrictions on large gatherings and assemblies;
Overnight curfews:
Lockdown of flights; and
Compulsory use of face masks/coverings in the public

On Sunday, a former Military Governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar warned against total lockdown as an option to contain the Coronavirus.

In a statement, titled: “Need to review Nigeria’s fight against Coronavirus,” Umar said: “As the second segment of the two weeks lockdown of some states and the FCT expires it is not evident what other measures the Federal Government and some of those states will adopt to control and stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

“Total lockdown is an effective measure that can ensure social distancing but it is also not sustainable in most Third world societies like Nigeria. We are referring to societies in which over 70% of the workforce is made up of daily wage earners.

“Governments of those societies must deploy measures which will protect lives and guarantee livelihoods to stop the spread of the virus while making it possible for the general public to secure their means of livelihood.

“The first task is to control and reduce the spread of the virus. One of the most effèctive ways is to enforce social and physical distancing. Things like total lockdown, stop any form of congregation and crowding. Sanitary measures like handwashing, use of face masks, gloves etc.

“Since most third World governments lack resources to adequately provide means of livelihood to a large segment of the society (i.e. the most vulnerable members) they must improvise strategies which will target such vulnerable citizens.

“One of the best ways is to embark on massive upgrade of medical facilities to provide easy testing, quarantine and treatment free of charge.

“If the Federal Government finds the need to give cash handout to the poor, it should do so through a more efficient channel i.e states and local governments.

“Another avenue is the huge reduction in food prices. The coronavirus pandemic has had huge inflationary impact on food prices. With restriction of movement, all farming activities will be adversely affected.

“This is time for the Federal Government to allow for massive import of foods particularly rice. It is a fact that imported rice is much cheaper than locally produced rice.

“With all the talk about a rice revolution, less than 30 per cent of the rice consumed in Nigeria is locally-produced. A 50kg of rice sold at about N7,000 in 2015, the price is currently N26,000.

Finally all tiers of government must suspend all other infrastructural projects and deploy all resources to the fight against coronavirus.”