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CSO questions FG’s plan to ease lockdown, cautions Abuja residents

A Civil Society Organisation, Centrum Initiative For Development And Fundamental Right Advocacy (CEDRA) based in Kaduna has cast aspersions on the plan by the Federal Government to terminate the lockdown regime imposed on Abuja because of Covid-19 pandemic.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari has announced a lockdown from February 29, 2020, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States to check the spread of the virus.

President Buhari, however, on Monday, April 27, said the lockdown will be terminated come Monday, May 4, in the affected states and FCT.

Reacting, CEDRA, through its Chairman, Dr. John Danfulani, in a press release, queried the rationale behind the re-opening of offices and businesses in Abuja.

Dr. Danfulani, who noted that the Federal Government ordered reopening of offices and businesses in Abuja on Monday 4th May 2020, and that by implication, Monday will terminate the lockdown regime slammed on Abuja because of Covid-19 pandemic, said:

“No effort is required to discern that quintessential scientific variables were not perused and globally certified procedures followed before arriving at the decision.

“Thus, the decision was masterminded by political and economic reasons that don’t have a base in empirical evidences of surge or spread of the disease, nationally.

“Let us juxtapose this decision with some commonsensical procedures:

(a) Has the FGN and owners of private properties housing businesses disinfected offices and premises?

(b) Is there a special re-arrangement of physical working environment to confirm with the golden rule of social distancing?

(c) Have workers in public and private sectors been tested and statuses known?

(d) Have public spaces like gardens, walkways and bus terminuses been disinfected?

(e) Have public spaces been equipped with sanitizers and other disinfectants for users?

(f) Have public spaces been re-arrange to comply with the social distancing directive of WHO and NCDC?

(g) Has the reality of most Abuja workers lives in parts of Kaduna, Niger, Kogi, and Nassara States that Covid-19 is surging critical assessed?

(h) Was the realism that states that most Abuja workers are living-in are in total or partial lockdown considered?

(i) Were surges in close climes taken to cognisance before the decision?

“There is no stressing the fact that afore-posited matters(a-i) are essential pre-conditions for reopening. The FGN, PFT and NCDC and other chief players in the combat against the pandemic can’t agree less.”

Danfulani emphasised that FGN’s decision to reopen Abuja on Monday 4th May 2020 was not a product of rigorous assessment of the situation and concrete steps taken to avoid endangering workers and people living in Abuja and neighbouring states.

At the risk of being tagged “apostles of doom and negativity”, he said that this decision will surely boomerang.

He stressed: “We saw how similar speed in reopening in Germany and other advanced countries converted gains gotten from their initial lockdowns to gargantuan nightmares.”

Danfulani, therefore, counseled that decisions bordering management of Covid-19 be surrendered to scientists, not politicians and businessmen.

“The later creams,” he said, “have proven to be incapable of taking decisions that make sense scientifically and empirically. Their core interests are political aggrandisement, exploitation and primitive accumulation.”

Finally, he advised Nigerians to listen to scientists, public health experts, and their doctors, not politicians and businessmen who are completely clueless and inherently selfish.

“There is regrettable tragedy in listening to politicians and businessmen now than ever,” he added.

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