By David Royal and Rasheed Sobowale
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to increase in the country, at least 42.2 per cent of Nigerians who participated in Vanguard poll conducted on Facebook and Twitter between Sunday and Monday 27th April 2020, feel that the lockdown on Lagos, Ogun and Abuja, scheduled to end on April 27, should be extended further.
The findings showed that while 42.2 per cent of the respondents support the extension of the lockdown, 57.8 per cent want the lockdown to be lifted.
A business owner, while commenting on Vanguard poll, said if the Federal Government extends the lockdown on Lagos, Ogun, and Abuja, he will sack all his staff.
He said “How can someone who owns a business or managing his/her business open mouth to say yes…(FG should extend lockdown)
“To me, if they extend the lockdown, I’ll sack all my staff. This is simple, just make a compulsory use of face mask and anyone who violates the use of face mask should be arrested”.
Speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 on Friday, DG of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu said while relevant authorities are working hard to get to a point where the restriction measures can be eased, the country was yet to get to that point.
He said “As we travelled round the country over the last four days, we could really see how difficult it has been and how hard Nigerians have been trying to do their best.
“We know it is a difficult journey but we also know that we will eventually exit this stage and we return to our normal lives, but that stage is still a while to come and I ask for your endurance, your support, your patience.
“A lot of efforts are going on across the world to find new therapies, to find vaccines and everybody is pushing very hard in this direction. So, we need to stay firm” he said.
Following the statement of Dr Chikwe Iheakwazu above, 42.2 per cent of the voters in the poll supported an extension of the lockdown while 57.8 per cent supported that the Federal government should lift the lockdown with strict measures to be adhered to.
A Twitter user who supported the lockdown extension said “Extend the lockdown on the condition that FG is truly showing responsibility and feeling the pulse of the common Nigerian. FG should give out palliatives indeed, increase the test centres, increase the number of tests, lockdown should be real and not a waste of precious time”.
Another user said “For the safety of Nigerians, lockdown should be extended but the government needs to help citizens cos people are running out of foodstuff and cash so if the palliatives can get to every Nigerians, it’s good FG extends the lockdown but if not, people will not comply”
Also, another Twitter user who wants the lockdown extended said “Let’s be honest, people are getting broke.. But if the lockdown ends, the cases will increase. Imagine a COVID patient sneezing during the Monday rush hour at CMS? Or a COVID positive conductor handling and passing change to passengers? The infection rate will be shocking”
Some said it’s a mixed feeling, they neither want the lockdown extended or lifted “seriously COVID 19 isn’t a joke, freeing movement could enhance massive transmission and this will lead to automatic lockdown, but at the same time humans must work to earn a living. We can’t keep staying home. A lot are completely broke. Vaccine is d way”
This other user said “Extending the lockdown will help the government to curtail the spreading of the virus. But on the other hand..this can result to hunger and suffering of the people especially the poor and those who live on daily income”.
Here are also few comments from people who kicked against the lockdown extension:
“At this critical point, every nation should begin to look for ways to reopen their economies. As a matter of fact, no country should have shut down their economies in the first place”.
“A month was given already with pains from the lower class and murmuring from the average class and nothing was done, no palliatives, no rapid testing, no equipped isolation center etc.. What hope do we have if it’s extended. Government should supply the cautious necessity…”
“Our economies are our source for survival. If we remain shutdown for long we will eventually be systematically shutting down our lives.”
“The government managed ONLY 10,000 tests in 4 weeks! This is not worth the economic loss. Social unrest and crime has being on the increase in Lagos. It is time to change the strategy. Let there be inter-state lockdown, while free movement should be allowed within each state.”
“For what? What have they achieved from the lockdown? NCDC should go about their jobs while we go about our jobs. Do citizens doing their jobs prevent NCDC from carrying out their jobs? Let there be compulsory use of nose mask and hand gloves, together with the social distancing rule and no social gatherings. That’s all”.
“Even the states that declared curfew 6 to 6 are suffering talkless of a state that declared total lockdown this is not fair enough and we are not in the country where there is free food and palliative funds from anybody even those that suppose to help their neighbours or in their constituency don’t help them but took the money to the state they’re so that their name can spread”
“Measures like compulsory face mask usage, social distancing, hand washing/sanitizing plus serious enlightenment of the people about COVID 19 everywhere I believe will work better. I have not seen this in the market places. How many of the populace are opportuned to listen to the radio or tv often for obvious reasons?”
“My point is that the Federal govt should be truthful and transparent for God’s sake, if new cases are rising for real I don’t think it’s wise to lift it now but if there are no new cases the lockdown should be lifted”.
Meanwhile, President Muhammad Buhari will address the nation today, Monday, April 27, 2020, at 8 pm, on what next his administration is to do to further contain the virus.