Lawmakers from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives has warned against lifting the lockdown imposed on country as a result of the covid 19 pandemic, saying it would amount to leaving Nigerians to their fate.
The opposition lawmakers described the decision as insensitive, callous and counterproductive, stating it was motivated by economic reasons when government was yet to develop a policy to engagement in public places.
The PDP lawmakers said additional two -week was required to enable the government develop the required policies in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution as the government has failed to use period of the lockdown to prepare.
In a statement by the Leader of the PDP Caucus in the House, Rep. Kinksley Chinda, the opposition lawmakers want the government to impose another two weeks lock down in the nation and use the period to set up testing centres across the country before lifting the lockdown.
The lockdown is expected to be partially lifted on Monda with selected businesses expected to start opening for normal operation while interstate movement is to be banned.
While condemning the decision to relax the lockdown especially in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, the PDP caucus leader expressed concerns about the spread of the virus.
“This is without doubt a very callous, insensitive and most unfortunate response by the Federal Government. The only plausible alternative to this is that the government has run out of ideas on what to do
“Furthermore, available evidence and statistics from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) show that Nigeria is far from winning the fight against Covid-19, as even within the lockdown, rather than reduce, the casualty rate and number of those that have tested positive to the virus is increasing on daily bases
“Clearly, this should be a matter of great concern to all reasonable and well meaning persons, irrespective of political, religious or tribal affiliations and/or considerations.
“Recall that In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, President Muhammadu Buhari on March 30th 2020 with effect from 31st March, declared two weeks lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as part of measures to contain the spread of the dreaded virus.
“However, following the increase in the number of cases in the States and the FCT, the lockdown order was extended by another two weeks to elapse on 3rd May, with gradual easing with effect from Monday 4th May.
“To this end, the Federal Government directed that banks and government offices reopen for business.
Also recall that the directive from the office of the Head of Service of the Federation “that civil servants on grade levels 14 and above report and work three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 8am-2pm daily while financial Institutions like banks announced resumption of operations from Monday 4th May 2020.
“As a caucus in the House of Representatives, “we are deeply worried about this and accordingly hereby express in very strong and unambiguous terms our utmost dismay, concern and total opposition to the stance of the Federal Government to prematurely relax and/or lift the lockdown order in the affected places earlier mentioned, and to hurriedly ask workers back to their offices, while the virus continue to ravage our people and our cities.
“We begin to wonder if the Government had no plans when it ordered the lockdown as lockdowns are not ordered for the fun of it but to curtail the spread and allow government time to put in place polices and measures to be adopted in public places to check further spread and manage the affected cases, whilst deploying equipment to different parts of the country and also carrying out massive test, hoping that within 14 days incubation period that citizens are in isolation, most of the cases would be ripe, traced and managed.
“Unfortunately, while the lockdown was on, our government went to sleep on their core responsibilities and was busy mouthing palliatives without visible action taken.
“Also instructive to note is that whilst declaring a relaxation of the lockdown order, beyond the usual campaign on handwashing; use of hand sanitizers, facemasks and social distancing, the Federal Government obviously did not put in place any other effective measure designed to stop the spread of the dreaded virus”.