By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari over planned extension of lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Lagos and Ogun states, saying he does not seem to appreciate the futility and ineffectiveness of lockdowns as a panacea to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
President Buhari had in a nationwide broadcast on March 29, declared a two- week lockdown in Lagos which has become the epicentre of coronavirus, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
The President on Saturday in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, few days to the expiration of the two weeks lockdown, said the restriction of movement in several states across the country would remain as long as experts found it necessary.
The 14-days lockdown as announced by the President expired on Monday, April 13, 2020.
But in a statement in Abuja yesterday, the National Chairman of PRP, Falalu Bello, described the planned extension of the lockdown as unrealistic, insensitive and disappointing.
He said Nigeria’s COVID-19 response strategy with terms such as aggressive enforcement of total lockdown, flattening of the curve, contact tracing, self-isolation, etc, was a good strategy on paper but had been drawn in total disregard to Nigeria’s environment and circumstances.
He said a complete lockdown might be useful and effective in developed economies and societies such as Europe and North America, adding that in Nigeria where infrastructure such as housing, public transportation, sanitation and water supply were at best rudimentary stage, a wholesale copy of the lockdown template as a strategy against the COVID-19 pandemic was as good as playing the ostrich.
He said: “Self-Isolation as another example in most of our houses in our towns and cities where tens of families stay in a house with only a toilet and tap, is neither possible nor practicable.
“The COVID-19 strategy sold to our President and his governors is alien to our circumstances, not practicable nor sustainable and should be urgently jettisoned.
“The consternation and disappointment of the PRP with President Buhari’s statement arises basically from three critical considerations.
“From his statement, the President appears not to understand and appreciate the futility and ineffectiveness of lockdowns as a panacea to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in an economic and social environment such as ours.”