COVID-19: Nigerian Government Yet To Take Measures To Reduce Spread Of Coronavirus –CDHR
The rights group, commenting on the lifting of lockdown in Lagos and imposition of curfew, also said that it was not the right time for free movement as the country was still recording increase in confirmed cases.
National President of CDHR, Dr Osagie Obayuwana, said the measures being adopted by the government does not reflect the existing reality in the country.
Obayuwana stated that government needed to enlighten the masses before lifting the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, adding that it would only keep the country at a standstill.
He said, “So far, we have not seen measures put in place by the government yielding the much needed positive outcomes, as the reality on ground shows that government needs to do more to curtail the spread of this contagious disease.
“The measures adopted by the government so far do not appear to take into consideration the current stark realities facing us as a people. We cannot justify the continuous lockdown when adequate alternative lifelines in the form of palliatives have not been offered.
“It is clear to us that the people would rather seek out their daily bread than depend on a government that has not been transparent in the distribution of resources donated by well-meaning individuals, corporate organisations, religious bodies and international organisations e.t.c to combat the disease.
“We cannot understand or appreciate the necessity for the 8pm – 6am curfew other than being a part of the enforcement mechanism to keep the nation at a standstill; which is already proving very counterproductive. We feel it is totally needless.”
Suggesting possible action that could be taken by the government, Obayuwana said, “An intensified enlightenment campaign on preventive practices (washing of hands regularly, wearing of face masks, social distancing etc.), utilising the tool of reasoning with and persuading, the Nigerian people can be freed from restrictions that are becoming increasingly unnecessary, as would allow people to continue to earn by producing goods and providing services with safety in mind.”
CDHR however, lauded President Buhari for warning law enforcement agencies to respect the fundamental rights of citizens in the process of enforcing the different degrees of restriction on the citizens’ freedom of movement.
It insisted that officers, who engage in extra-judicial activities should be arrested, charged and prosecuted to serve as deterrent and that compensation should be paid to families of the victims.
The group also urged federal and state governments to concentrate on agriculture in order to avoid a hunger pandemic as the effect of COVID-19 continues to take its toll on people.
He added, “In view of the deteriorating economic situation, we urge government at all levels to recognise the all-important nature of the agricultural sector and formulate and implement programs in spite of the COVID-19 menace geared towards providing urgent concrete all-round assistance to farmers of food crops in order to avert a hunger pandemic in the months ahead.
“We caution that a hunger pandemic cannot be treated with the washing of hands and social distancing.”
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